Pittsburgh at Washington

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (42-41) «2000000215100
Washington (42-42)0100001013100

Pirates 5, Nationals 3

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

WASHINGTON -- James McDonald tried a different approach in the bullpen. Garrett Jones figured it was finally time to go long against a lefty.

McDonald ate up innings -- the way a first-game starter is supposed to do -- and Jones put his team ahead for good with a home run in the eighth Saturday as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 5-3 in the opening game of their first doubleheader in the nation's capital since the 19th Century.

Jones and Andrew McCutchen took Sean Burnett (3-5) deep back-to-back as the Pirates moved two games over .500 for the eighth time this season. They had yet to make it to three games over, but they would try to get there again in the nightcap of Pittsburgh's first twin-bill in Washington since they split with an early incantation of the National League Senators at Boundary Field on May 19, 1899.

Jones entered the game hitting .129 against lefties, with no homers and two RBI. He said he needs to start hitting the ball where it's pitched -- and he did just that by going the opposite way and putting one into the red seats in left center.

More on Pirates at Nationals

Updating MLB news | Follow on Twitter

"It definitely feels good to get one off a lefty. I've been struggling off them," Jones said. "I saw the ball well today, just trying to make strides and stay close and stay in a big part of the field, stay up the middle and left-center off the lefty -- and was able to stay on that one good."

McDonald and Nationals starter Livan Hernandez dominated much of the game, combining for 13 strikeouts and six 1-2-3 innings. McDonald allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings before giving way to Jose Veras (2-2), who pitched 1 2/3 innings to get the win.

"My preparation was a little different this time. My 'pen was a lot more focused, more game-like attitude to bear down on hitters and get that feel going," said McDonald, who decided on the new approach after a talk with pitching coach Ray Searage. "I feel like I carried my bullpen out to the game."

Joel Hanrahan gave up one run in the ninth but still got his 24th save in 24 chances this season, tying the club record for consecutive saves opportunities converted.

Hernandez allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings - including the first earned runs allowed by Washington's pitching staff in three games -- but Burnett entered and uncharacteristically gave up the long ball. He had allowed only one home run in 27 2/3 innings before Jones and McCutchen went deep.

"He looked like he was throwing really good, but he wasn't locating that good," said Davey Johnson, who dropped to 1-4 as Washington's manager. "You can't leave the ball over the middle of the plate with a guy like Jones."

Jones finished with three hits -- a single, double and homer -- and Alex Presley had three singles for the Pirates, who added a run in the ninth on pinch-hitter Matt Diaz's RBI single.

The Nationals picked up a run on Ivan Rodriguez's RBI single in the second, but a chance to make it a bigger inning was wiped out when Danny Espinosa was picked off second.

The Nationals also loaded the bases with one out in the fifth after two hits and a walk, but McDonald got Ryan Zimmerman to foul out and struck out cleanup hitter Laynce Nix.

Rick Ankiel tied the game at 2 with a pinch-hit homer, his second home run of the season and his first since the second game of the season.

Notes

The Pirates placed SS Ronny Cedeno on the 7-day concussion disabled list. He was injured trying to break up a double play in Friday's game. Pittsburgh recalled INF Pedro Ciriaco from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Pittsburgh then recalled RHP Brad Lincoln from Indianapolis to start the second game of the doubleheader. RHP Tim Wood was optioned to Triple A. ... Pirates OF Xavier Paul, who had missed the last three games with tightness in his right hamstring, entered the game in the eighth inning. ... After Friday night's win, Johnson asked reporters for directions to his new home in the nation's capital, having yet to make the drive there from Nationals Park. Asked on Saturday if the trip went OK, he said it did -- despite an apparent wrong turn on an interstate. That led to a long discussion about the city's notorious traffic. "If push comes to shove," he concluded, "I really know how to walk out there and get a cab." ... Pirates manager Clint Hurdle offered an amusing story about playing for Johnson in the minors in Norfolk. "In the first game, the third baseman broke his hand and he looked in the dugout and asked me if I ever played third base," Hurdle said. "And I said 'Absolutely.' So I played the second game at third base, and about three days later he called me into the office and said, 'You've never played third base in your life, have you?' 'Absolutely not."' Nevertheless, Johnson kept Hurdle at third, and Hurdle said it helped re-ignite his career. "We took infield every day, just mainly for Clint," Johnson said. ... When 43-year-old Matt Stairs singled in the ninth inning Friday, he became the oldest player to drive in a game-ending run since Graig Nettles [also 43] for the Montreal Expos in 1988. ... Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez was unavailable because of strep throat.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

G. Jones
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

R. Ankiel
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 12, 2014
Ike Taylor on the Doug Gottlieb Show (8:23)
December 2, 2014
La Canfora on Steelers at Bengals
(2:10)
November 18, 2014
Jim Rome: Steelers cut LeGarrette Blount
(1:31)
December 21, 2014
TOPS: Bart Scott talks NFL headlines (12/21)
(7:01)
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, LF4030111 .368
Chase D'Arnaud, SS5100025 .182
Garrett Jones, RF4232002 .255
    Xavier Paul, RF1000012 .265
Andrew McCutchen, CF4121001 .283
Neil Walker, 2B3001010 .246
Lyle Overbay, 1B4000001 .223
Brandon Wood, 3B3100100 .212
Michael McKenry, C2010110 .222
James McDonald, P2000021 .100
    Jose Veras, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1011000 .267
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
Totals33510538  
a-singled for Veras in the 9th
Batting
2B - Garrett Jones (12, Hernandez), Andrew McCutchen (19, Hernandez)
HR - Garrett Jones (9, Burnett), Andrew McCutchen (12, Burnett)
SF - Neil Walker (5)
SH - Michael McKenry (4), James McDonald (3)
RBI - Garrett Jones 2 (30), Andrew McCutchen (42), Neil Walker (52), Matt Diaz (13)
SB - Chase D'Arnaud (3, 2nd base off Hernandez/Rodriguez)
CS - Alex Presley (1, 2nd base by Hernandez/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Presley 1
DP - Presley-D'Arnaud-Walker
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James McDonald 6.1722371 4.40
Jose Veras (W,2-2) 1.2100100 2.63
Joel Hanrahan (S,24) 1211010 1.41
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 97-68, Jose Veras 20-12, Joel Hanrahan 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 5-6, Jose Veras 1-3, Joel Hanrahan 2-0
Batters Faced - James McDonald 28, Jose Veras 6, Joel Hanrahan 5
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Roger Bernadina, CF-LF3100201 .265
Jayson Werth, RF5021011 .226
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3000204 .228
Laynce Nix, LF3000024 .278
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Stairs, PH1000001 .145
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
Michael Morse, 1B4120001 .302
Danny Espinosa, 2B4020012 .239
Ivan Rodriguez, C4011014 .216
Ian Desmond, SS4010031 .222
Livan Hernandez, P1000000 .154
   b- Rick Ankiel, PH-CF2121000 .219
Totals34310348  
a-flied out for Burnett in the 8th
b-homered for Hernandez in the 7th
Batting
HR - Rick Ankiel (2, McDonald)
SH - Livan Hernandez (10)
RBI - Jayson Werth (28), Ivan Rodriguez (18), Rick Ankiel (10)
2-OUT RBI - Jayson Werth (10)
PK - Danny Espinosa (2, McDonald)
Team LOB - 9
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Livan Hernandez 7622260 3.73
Sean Burnett (L,3-5) 1222002 5.72
Todd Coffey 0.1211100 3.45
Ryan Mattheus 0.2000020 2.16
WP - Livan Hernandez (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 98-61, Sean Burnett 24-16, Todd Coffey 15-10, Ryan Mattheus 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 8-6, Todd Coffey 1-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 28, Sean Burnett 5, Todd Coffey 4, Ryan Mattheus 2
Game Information
Attendance - 0
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Mark Lollo