You wouldn't know it from the final run total, but the Washington Nationals exploded offensively this afternoon, hammering out a season-high 15 hits to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 at PNC Park. With the win, Washington climbs back to .500 on the young season, at 10-10 (5-6 away from Nats Park). The game ended in spectacular fashion as Jayson Werth threw out the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen , who for some reason was trying to tag up at third base down three runs.
Michael Morse (three for four, 3 run HR) and Danny Espinosa (three for five, one run scored) led the way at the plate, but almost everyone in the Nats lineup chipped in today, even starting pitcher Jason Marquis, who had two singles in three trips to the plate.
Marquis gave skipper Jim Riggleman and a beleaguered Washington bullpen six effective innings, limiting Pittsburgh to three runs despite eight hits allowed. Tyler Clippard went two strong innings, lowering his ERA to 1.26 for the year. Drew Storen escaped two throwing errors in the ninth, aided by that Werth throw, to notch his third save of 2011 (oh yeah, his ERA happens to be a microscopic 0.71).
Neil Walker (three for four) and Pedro Alvarez (two for four, one run scored) led the Pirates at the plate. Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia was knocked out of the game in the fifth inning after allowing five runs on eleven hits.
The Nationals and Pirates wrap up their four-turned-three game set tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. It will be dueling lefties, as Washington's John Lannan (2-1, 3.43 ERA) will face Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm (0-3, 4.30 ERA). Trust me, good seats are still available.