Pirates Vs. Nationals: Washington Falls One Game Under .500 With Ugly 10-2 Loss To Pittsburgh

Starter Jason Marquis was roughed up early, and the Washington Nationals were soundly defeated 10-2 Sunday by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Washington falls to 42-43 on the year.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Washington Falls One Game Under .500 With Ugly 10-2 Loss To Pittsburgh

Washington starter Jason Marquis allowed three runs in the first inning, and four runs in the second, putting the Nationals in a deep hole early on Sunday afternoon at Nats Park. By the time Collin Balester relieved Marquis and closed out the second inning, Washington was down 8-0 on their way to a 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Balester was solid in relief of Marquis, throwing 76 pitches over four innings of work, walking two, striking out five and allowing two earned runs, saving the Nationals bullpen in the process.

Kevin Correia held the Washington bats in check for six innings, allowing just two runs on six hits, while striking out six. He lowered his ERA to 3.74 in the process, and is now tied for the major league lead lead with 11 wins.

Andrew McCutchen continued his holiday weekend onslaught on Nationals pitching, going three for five with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Pirates second baseman Neil Walker added three hits and two RBIs, as the Pittsburgh team amassed 16 hits off of Washington pitching

Wilson Ramos was the lone bright spot in the Washington lineup, going two for four with a double, home run and two runs batted in.

Jayson Werth was hit on the wrist in the sixth inning, and was immediately removed from the ballgame by skipper Davey Johnson. Television replays seemed to indicate the ball hit a wrist guard, but there has been no official news yet from the team on Werth's condition.

Washington celebrates the July Fourth holiday with a 1:05 P.M. first pitch Monday at Nationals Park against the Chicago Cubs.

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Rough Jason Marquis Outing Puts Nationals In 8-2 Hole Through Five Innings

Jason Marquis's worst outing of the year has put the Nationals in a serious hole entering the sixth inning. Marquis lasted only 1 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing eight hits and seven runs (six earned) in his brief outing. Collin Balester has been solid in relief, allowing just one run in 3 2/3 innings of long relief.

Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia has stymied the Nats bats, allowing only two earned runs on six hits through five innings of work, striking out five. Four Pirates batters already have two hits and two runs batted in, as the Pittsburgh lineup has hammered out 11 hits through five.

The lone offensive bright spot for Washington has been catcher Wilson Ramos, two for two on the day with a home run and two runs batted in. Not to beat a dead horse, but Jayson Werth continues to struggle, as he is hitless in two Sunday at bats, dropping his slash line to .223/.324/.382. 

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Pirates Vs. Nationals: Washington And Pittsburgh Wrap A Hotly Contested Holiday Weekend Series

Fresh off a hotly contested doubleheader Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals square off Sunday in a battle of teams trying to get over the hump. Pittsburgh (42-41) triumphed in Game 1 of the old-school doubleheader 5-3, with the Nats normally solid bullpen being the scapegoat. Washington (42-42) was victorious in Game 2, 4-3, due to a clutch eight inning single from veteran backstop Ivan Rodriguez.

The Nationals send Jason Marquis (7-2, 3.62 ERA) to the mound on a hot and humid DC summer day. In his career, Marquis is 12-6 with a 3.60 ERA against the Pirates in 23 starts.

The Pirates answer with surprise ace Kevin Correia, 10-6 on the year with a 3.79 ERA. Random baseball stat: if Correia were to win Sunday, he would be Pittsburgh's first 11-game winner prior to the All-Star break since Jim Bibby in 1980.

Before the game, the 2011 MLB All-Star lineup was announced, and sadly for Nationals fans, only Tyler Clippard was selected from the hometown squad. Meanwhile, Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa will get to spend the next week asking if they feel "snubbed", a term saved for this specific 10 day period every July.

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