Nationals Vs. Pirates: Nationals Swashbucked By Pirates, Lose 7-2

A five run first-inning and three errors helped doom the Washington Nationals to a 7-2 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park Saturday night.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Final Score: Nationals Can't Find Error Of Their Ways, Lose to Pirates 7-2

Saturday night's 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates is a game the Washington Nationals are going to want to quickly forget. Everything that could go wrong in a baseball game pretty much did for the Nats at PNC Park. From falling behind in the first-inning to multiple errors to questionable umpiring calls, the Nationals couldn't put anything together and the Pirates quickly swarmed and took control of the game.

Nationals starter Livan Hernandez pitched in his 450th game and went six-innings, but his undoing came early in the game as the Bucs were able to score five runs in the first-inning and then added a sixth in the second without Hernandez even giving up a hit. The Nationals defense collected three errors, two from Ian Desmond and one from catcher Wilson Ramos while outfielder Jayson Werth too had trouble at his position, if only briefly, but it was enough for the Bucs to capitalize on and extend innings.

In the bottom of the sixth a questionable call by the umpire led to a run when Andrew McCutchen went to steal second. McCutchen slid into a the glove of a waiting second baseman Danny Espinosa who already had the ball firmly in his leather, but the umpire called McCutchen safe. Two batters later Lyle Overbay singled him in for the Pirates final run of the night.

The inconsistent Nationals offense once again entered a cold spell. While recording six hits, they couldn't string anything together against Pirates pitcher Jeff Karstens. The only runs of the game from a second-inning RBI single from Michael Morse and a fourth-inning solo home run from Werth.

The Nationals fall below .500 and to a 9-10 record.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates Score: Nationals Attacked By Pirates, Trailing 6-2

The game between the Washington Nationals and the Pittsburgh Pirates experienced a one hour and eleven minute rain delay at PNC Park, but from the way Saturday's game has played out the Nationals probably wish it was still in a delay or outright cancelled. The Nationals trail the Pirates 6-2 going into the fifth.

Starter Livan Hernandez, pitching in his 450th consecutive game, had the Bucs jump all over him as he made 31 pitches in a five-run first-inning. The Pirates scored their sixth run in the second-inning without scoring a hit. The Pirates have been helped by two Nationals errors, one from shortstop Ian Desmond and the other from catcher Wilson Ramos.

The Nationals only runs came from a Michael Morse RBI single when he brought in Adam LaRoche in the second-inning and in the fourth when Jayson Werth hit his third home run of the season. Without drastic improvements in nearly every part of the Nationals game, it is doubtful that on a night where Hernandez reaches an epic milestone anyone in Natstown will be celebrating.

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Nationals Vs. Pirates: Livan Hernandez Makes 450th Straight Start

The Washington Nationals will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7 p.m. Saturday in the first game of a three-game series at PNC Park. The series was supposed to begin on Friday, but the game was rained out. That was actually a good thing for the Nationals, as it allows them to get back to their normal pitching rotation. 

Livan Hernandez will make his 450th consecutive start for the Nationals, a remarkable stat that speaks to his durability and longevity. Hernandez is off to a strong start this season, as he is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in his first four starts. Jeff Karstens will oppose Hernandez for the Pirates. Karstens is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA this year in four appearances, one of which was a start.

The Nationals will keep the same lineup for this game as they would have played on Friday. Here it is:

Nationals

1. Danny Espinosa, 2B

2. Rick Ankiel, CF

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Wilson Ramos, C

6. Michael Morse, LF

7. Ian Desmond, SS

8. Jerry Hairston, 3B

9. Livan Hernandez, SP

Pirates

1. Andrew McCutcheon, CF

2. Jose Tabata, LF

3. Lyle Overbay, 1B

4. Neil Walker, 2B

5. Garrett Jones, RF

6. Ryan Doumit, C

7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Jeff Karstens, SP

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