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Pittsburgh at Washington

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (64-59)003000000380
Washington (68-53) «000000031480

Nationals come back in 8th, 9th to top Pirates 4-3

By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer
  •  

WASHINGTON (AP) After Adam LaRoche's two-run homer in the eighth tied the game, and Wilson Ramos' ground-rule double in the ninth won it, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams called his club ''tenacious.''

Kevin Frandsen, whose RBI single in the eighth started Washington's rally from a three-run deficit, went with the word ''relentless.''

No matter what you call it, these NL East-leading Nationals are showing a knack for coming through late in games, and their fifth walkoff win of the season came by the score of 4-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

''When you're on a streak, when you've got a little lead in the division, it's easier to go relax and play,'' said LaRoche, who hit his 18th homer, ''and not get too uptight late in games, regardless (of whether) you're down or not.''

Trailing 3-0 heading into the eighth, Washington grabbed its fifth consecutive victory to stay six games ahead of the second-place Atlanta Braves.

The Pirates, meanwhile, dropped their fourth straight and have fallen to third place in the NL Central.

''It's never good for the club, especially the position we're in right now, pushing hard,'' said Tony Watson, who came on in the eighth and gave away the lead.

Watson began his appearance by walking pinch-hitter Michael Taylor, then giving up singles to Denard Span and Frandsen that made it 3-1. After a double play, Watson faced the lefty-hitting LaRoche, who drove a 1-0 pitch into the home bullpen. Reliever Drew Storen, who was warming up, caught the ball on the fly.

Watson said he followed the same pitch sequence against LaRoche on Saturday as he had Friday.

''Yeah,'' Watson acknowledged, ''it was dumb.''

In the ninth, with another lefty in for Pittsburgh, Justin Wilson (3-3), Bryce Harper checked his swing at a 3-1 pitch and went about halfway down the first-base line, figuring he had a leadoff walk. But plate umpire Mark Wegner had called the pitch a strike. Harper eventually paused, turned around, got back in the batter's box - and walked on the next pitch.

After Harper took second on a wild pitch, Ramos hit a ball that sailed over right fielder Gregory Polanco's head and bounced into the home bullpen to win it.

Helped, too, that Washington got four innings of scoreless relief after starter Gio Gonzalez allowed three runs and departed after 102 pitches in five innings.

Craig Stammen got nine outs - ''Just carving,'' Harper said - before Matt Thornton (1-0) earned the win with a 1-2-3 ninth, getting a pair of strikeouts on 96 mph fastballs.

''They believe that they can come back, they believe that they can string hits together and we can score runs, and that's a good thing to have,'' Williams said. ''That belief system is good.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: CF Andrew McCutchen, last season's NL MVP, ran the bases and hit before Saturday's game as he works his way back from a broken rib that put him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 4. McCutchen had run before, but manager Clint Hurdle said ''this was just a little bit more; closer to 100 percent.'' ... Hurdle said RHP Gerrit Cole ''passed all the tests'' during a minor league rehab start Friday and should be ready to come off the DL within the next week.

Nationals: RF Jayson Werth sat out a fifth consecutive game because of a bothersome right shoulder. Williams, who initially hoped to have Werth back Sunday, said the outfielder was ''a little tender'' after doing a full workout Saturday. ''So if we have to take another day after today, we may have to do that,'' Williams said.

UP NEXT

In the series finale, Nationals RHP Doug Fister (12-3, 2.34 ERA) faces Pirates RHP Edinson Volquez (10-7, 3.67 ERA). Fister has won six of his last seven starts; Volquez has won six of his last seven decisions.

WHAT A PLAY

Pirates LF Travis Snider made a head-first, all-out, diving catch to rob Harper of a hit with a man on in the fifth.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

G. Sanchez
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Washington

A. LaRoche
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Josh Harrison, SS4010001.307.345.493
Gregory Polanco, RF4100021.252.322.363
Russell Martin, C2110200.286.409.398
Starling Marte, CF4121001.266.340.409
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4032002.234.301.405
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3000023.230.313.390
   Neil Walker, 2B1000001.276.345.455
Jayson Nix, 2B-3B3000020.139.195.181
Travis Snider, LF4010021.259.335.432
Jeff Locke, P3000031.103.161.103
   Jared Hughes, P0000000.000.000.000
   Tony Watson, P0000000.333.333.333
   a-Michael Martinez, PH1000000.132.214.158
   Justin Wilson, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals33383211    
a-grounded out for Watson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Starling Marte (21, G. Gonzalez)
RBI - Starling Marte (40), Gaby Sanchez 2 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Starling Marte (12), Gaby Sanchez 2 (9)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Hughes-Walker-G. Sanchez, Hughes-Walker-G. Sanchez-Harrison-Walker-G. Sanchez
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Locke 5.2400260 3.73
Jared Hughes (H,10) 1.1000000 1.75
Tony Watson (BS,6) 1333101 1.84
Justin Wilson (L,3-3) 0111100 4.75
WP - Justin Wilson (3)
HBP - Harper (by Jared Hughes)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Locke 93-55, Jared Hughes 11-8, Tony Watson 20-13, Justin Wilson 10-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Locke 5-5, Jared Hughes 1-2, Tony Watson 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Locke 22, Jared Hughes 4, Tony Watson 6, Justin Wilson 2
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Denard Span, CF4110000.303.354.406
Kevin Frandsen, LF4031000.244.289.304
Anthony Rendon, 3B4000012.274.330.460
Adam LaRoche, 1B3112111.276.377.470
Ian Desmond, SS3010102.248.305.427
Bryce Harper, RF2100101.257.340.390
Wilson Ramos, C4021011.297.339.411
Danny Espinosa, 2B3000012.215.278.352
Gio Gonzalez, P1000010.097.097.194
   a-Scott Hairston, PH1000012.220.262.322
   Craig Stammen, P0000000.286.286.429
   b-Michael Taylor, PH0100100.143.294.357
   Matt Thornton, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals2948446    
a-struck out for G. Gonzalez in the 5th
b-walked for Stammen in the 8th
Batting
2B - Wilson Ramos (10, Wilson)
HR - Adam LaRoche (18, Watson)
RBI - Kevin Frandsen (13), Adam LaRoche 2 (66), Wilson Ramos (30)
2-OUT RBI - Adam LaRoche 2 (17)
CS - Ian Desmond (4, 2nd base by Locke/Martin)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Espinosa-Desmond-LaRoche, Espinosa-Desmond-LaRoche-LaRoche-Desmond
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gio Gonzalez 5733270 4.06
Craig Stammen 3100020 3.59
Matt Thornton (W,1-3) 1000020 2.22
HBP - Nix (by Craig Stammen)
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 102-65, Craig Stammen 31-20, Matt Thornton 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 4-4, Craig Stammen 4-1, Matt Thornton 1-0
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 24, Craig Stammen 9, Matt Thornton 3
Game Information
Attendance - 41880
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Tom Woodring