The Nats just found a way to lose tonight. The Bucs didn’t help their cause stranding 13 runners. A wild pitch allowed Freddy Sanchez to score the game winning run and an Adam Dunn throw into no man’s land led to the other Pirate run and their fifth victory. In a row
Paul Maholm had a Houdini outing. He threw 114 pitches, but just when one would think he couldn’t get out of it….he would escape. His stuff was moving extremely well.
Just when you thought it was going to be too much, Maholm would come up with the correct location, the right pitch, the defensive help (numerous line drives smashed at Nyjmo-all for outs.) Nats fans shook their head in wonderment. Bucco fans didn’t want to see anymore, but it continued.
Maholm finished with seven strikeouts, but surrendered three walks over his six innings pitched. The Nats left eight runners on base and grounded into two double plays.
Joel Hanrahan who enjoys playing with fire in his magic act, didn’t buy Houdini’s book and his show failed once again in front of 17,800 fans at Nationals Park. Hanrahan threw 35 pitches in his one inning show. Pirates relief pitchers threw 39 pitches in three innings of scoreless work.
In the eighth, Sean Burnett failed to do his job. He was brought in to get one batter out. Adam Dunn. He walked him to start the inning. No worries, John Grabow came in to get a painfully slow 6-4-3 double play turned behind him. Grabow would earn the victory. He looked agressive again.
In the ninth, Nats closer firestarter Hanrahan returned to the mound Monday night crime scene. He quickly returned to his fascinating show as he ignited a Pirates rally immediately:
Delwyn Young, who is now hitting .368, got a pinch hit to start the Bucs fire. Nyjmo couldn’t get a bunt down and eventually flew out to the track in LF. Freddy had a single.
The Bucs were 0-for9 with runners in scoring position when Nate stepped to the plate, he ripped a single and the bases were full of flames as Young was held at third by Coach Beasely.
The Nats fans didn’t enjoy the same old show and showed their displeasure with what sounded like booing. Nobody said show business was easy.
Brandon Moss pinch hit for Craig Monroe (who was 1-for4 with 4 men left on base) and grounded out to first base on a 3-2 count. Moss is hitting .327 in the month of May. His ground out forced Young at home and the Bucs rally seemed shut down. However, the Nats didn’t even attempt to turn the double play and simply settled for the force out at home as Hanrahan had to race over to cover the first base bag.
This ‘play it safe’ style of play would prove crucial.
Hanrahan would grab some motor oil as his accelerent choice and would fan the Pirates flames. After a 1BLaRoche walk, Hanrahan threw several sliders in front of the plate that were blocked nicely. His last bouncer hit the corner of the plate and rolled to the backstop allowing Freddy to score the eventual winning run.
Good Luck with that Strasburg kid Nats.
3B LaRoche was 3-for-4 keeping his hit streak alive and raising his average to 278.
Capps closed out the game for the Bucs in dramatic fashion. He allowed a leadoff single to Harris. Wil Nieves grounded into a slick 6-4-3 double play on an 0-2 count.
Josh Willingham came up to pinch hit. He saw the following:
84 mph slider. Strike one.
84 mph slider. Strike two.
94 mph heater. Waste pitch.
95 mph heater. Barely made contact, still 1-2
85 mph slider. Low 2-2.
95 mph heater. Crushed. 401.5 feet. Nate grabbed it at the wall for the victory and Capps eighth save.
We were glad that Capps show ended just half a foot short…. It was a fantastic ending to a great show. ”Atta boy Nate!”