Aug 17, 2014, 1:12 PM EST
Today the Nationals look for a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates and a season-high, 6-game winning streak with Doug Fister (12-3, 2.34) on the mound in a rare 5:05 p.m. game.
Fister will make his 18th start of the season looking to lower his 2014 ERA for a fifth consecutive outing. The Nats are 13-4 in games Fister pitches and have won six of his last seven starts.
The 30-year-old will face the Pirates for the second time this season. On May 25 he gave up one run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. The Nationals won that day by a score of 2-1.
Pitching for the Pirates is 10-year veteran Edinson Volquez (10-7, 3.67). Volquez faced the Nationals on May 22 of this season and earned the win with six innings of one-run ball on three hits and two walks.
Jayson Werth is again out of the Nationals’ lineup as he continues to recover from AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder. Rookie Michael Taylor is starting in right field in his place.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 5:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees (and very humid), Wind 9 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
RF Michael Taylor
RHP Doug Fister
RF Gregory Polanco
SS Josh Harrison
2B Neil Walker
C Russell Martin
3B Pedro Alvarez
CF Starling Marte
LF Travis Snider
1B Ike Davis
RHP Edinson Volquez
HP Andy Fletcher
1B Mike Muchlinski
2B Tom Woodring
3B Mark Wegner (cc)
5:25 p.m. — The first inning saw no runs come across, though the Nats did threaten with two men on and two outs. Fister needed just eight pitches to 1-2-3 before the Nats came up. Span and Cabrera went down quickly on balls put in play before Rendon reached on a two-out single. He would move to second on a wild pitch before LaRoche joined him on base with a walk. Desmond, however, struck out swinging to end the inning. Martin is up next for the Buccos.
5:39 p.m. — It is still 0-0 after two innings, as the second again saw a clean frame by Fister and the Nats fail to bring a runner home. Taylor singled to center field for the Nats with two outs in the second and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Fister then struck out swinging for the third out. Fister has thrown 24 pitches, Volquez is at 33.
5:57 p.m. — 0-0 it remains, as the third inning featured little more than a walk by Ike Davis. Fister has allowed no hits through three on 39 pitches. Volquez went three up, three down in the third and now sits at 46 pitches on the day.
6:09 p.m. — Still no runs in this one, and still no hits for the Pirates. Fister pitched a perfect frame and now has 49 pitches on the day through four innings of work. Volquez is at 57.
6:26 p.m. — Nothing changed in the fifth inning in terms of the score, as the Nats and Pirates remain at 0-0. Fister, though, did finally give up a hit, as Alvarez led off with a single. The Nats were set down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Fister is at 65 pitches, Volquez has thrown 70.
6:43 p.m. — The Pirates broke through with two runs in the sixth inning to take a 2-0 lead, and they did so with some help from the Nationals’ defense. The inning began with an error by Desmond, who dropped the ball out of his glove on the transfer. It was his 19th of the season, tying him for second-most in baseball with Josh Donaldson of the A’s. Harrison followed that with a single to right field on a hit-and-run, finding space only because Cabrera was covering second. Polanco went to third and then came home on a botched rundown that saw Rendon make a throwing error to home plate. The second run would come in a batter later on a groundball to third by Martin. Rendon threw to first and LaRoche couldn’t reel it in. Nats now down 2-0 with the bottom of the sixth up next.
6:53 p.m. — The Nats got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, when Desmond atoning for his error with a 2-out RBI single to center, scoring Rendon. And when Starling Marte made a poor choice to throw the ball home, both Desmond and LaRoche took an extra base, leaving the tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position as Harper came to the plate for a huge at-bat. Bryce swung at Volquez’s first pitch, though, and sent a soft flyball to left to end the inning. It’s 2-1 Pirates as we go the seventh.
7:21 p.m. — Good lord, there has been some disastrous infield defense in this game. The Nats gave away two runs in the top of the sixth, now the Pirates gave away three runs in the bottom of the seventh. The inning included back-to-back errors on throws to the plate by Ike Davis and Pedro Alvarez. It also included some incredibly heads-up baserunning by Frandsen, who was on second base when Cabrera hit a grounder to first. When Davis’ throw skipped off Russell Martin’s mitt and rolled down the third-base line in foul territory, Frandsen took off for the plate, running right past the ball and Martin, who couldn’t get there in time to tag him. Just like that, the Nats lead 4-2 heading to the eighth of a crazy ballgame.
7:28 p.m. — Speaking of crazy: Asrubal Cabrera and Ian Desmond just turned the prettiest double play you’ll see all season, with Cabrera going behind his back to feed the ball to Desmond. Nats Park erupted upon completion of that one. We go to the bottom of the eighth, still 4-2 Nats.
7:36 p.m. — OK, here we go. It’s Rafael Soriano vs. Marte, Snider and Davis in the ninth, the Nats up two runs.
7:54 p.m. — Oh, my. That was not good. Soriano blew it in the ninth, and blew it quite spectacularly. He plunked Marte, gave up a rocket of a single off LaRoche’s glove, uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch, walked Davis on five pitches and then got Gaby Sanche to tap a ball in front of the plate that turned into one out. At this point, there were two on and one out in a 1-run game. Matt Thornton was warm in the bullpen, with the left-handed Polanco at the plate. Matt Williams, though, stuck with Soriano and paid the price for it. Polanco drilled the first pitch to right-center for a 2-run double that gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead and left Soriano to walk off the field in shame amid a loud chorus of boos. UGLY.
8:16 p.m. — The crowd came back to life when Jayson Werth stepped up to pinch-hit with one out in the ninth and drew a walk. They roared even louder when Span battled through a long at-bat and then roped a base hit to right, putting runners on the corners with one out for Cabrera. Cabrera then sent a sharp bouncer through the right side, bringing home the tying run. Rendon looked like he might have the game-winner, only to be robbed by Marte in center field. LaRoche then had a chance to be the hero, but he was punched out on an inside fastball. So we’re going extra innings, folks. Why not?
8:25 p.m. — Ross Detwiler got through the top of the 10th unscathed, pitching around a 2-out single by Marte. So now it’s Desmond, Harper and Ramos against Brandon Cumpton in the bottom of the 10th.
8:32 p.m. — A 2-out single for Ramos in the bottom of the 10th, but that’s all the Nats managed against Cumpton. Onto the 11th, with Detwiler back to the mound.
8:39 p.m. — Two scoreless innings for Detwiler. Bottom of the 11th now, with Werth, Span and the pitcher’s spot due up against Cumpton.
8:49 p.m. — Nats win! Werth led off the 11th with a laser of a double off the left-field wall. Span then moved him to third with a grounder to the right side. Up stepped Scott Hairston, who won it with a sac fly to left. Nats win 5-4 in 11 and extend their season-long wining streak to 6 games.
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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