May 18, 2012, 2:06 AM EST
US Presswire photo
Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen hit two more homers against the Nationals.
Game in a nutshell: Unable to do anything against Pirates right-hander James McDonald for five innings, the Nationals finally came to life during a three-run sixth that included a two-run single by Ryan Zimmerman and an RBI triple (yes, triple) by Adam LaRoche. Unfortunately, the Nationals were already trailing by four runs at that point because Jordan Zimmermann served up three home runs (two of them to Andrew McCutchen). The Pirates tacked on another run against Craig Stammen in the seventh, then hung on to salvage a two-game series split.
Hitting lowlight: Yes, they produced some runs late. But let's focus on the first five innings of this game, when the Nationals' lineup was hogtied by McDonald. The right-hander retired the first 13 batters he faced, nine via strikeout. Most of those came on breaking balls. Bryce Harper finally broke up the perfect game when he drew a walk with one out in the fifth. But it wasn't until Jesus Flores doubled to open the sixth that McDonald's no-hit bid was quashed. For a Nationals lineup that had finally broken out over the last week, this was a backward step.
Pitching lowlight: Considering he had been credited with a quality start in each of his first seven outings this year, Zimmermann certainly was allowed to have a bit of an off-night. And it's not like the right-Read more »
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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