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Pirates Vs. Nationals Recap: Jordan Zimmermann Not Sharp, Washington Loses 5-3

The Washington Nationals dropped game 2 of a quick two-game set against the Pirates on Thursday night, 5-3. Jordan Zimmermann did not have his best stuff, and the Pittsburgh lineup pounced early on with the long ball. Andrew McCutchen went the other way in the first inning to hit one into the Nats' bullpen in right for a quick 1-0 lead. McCutchen struck again in the sixth inning with a bomb to left. The McCutchen homers sandwiched a two-run shot from Rod Barajas that put the Nats in an early 4-0 hole from which they would not recover.

Pittsburgh starter James McDonald was dominant through the first five innings, allowing no hits and striking out 10. The Nats put together a rally in the sixth inning, with four hits and three runs and chased McDonald. Jesus Flores finally broke up the no-hitter with a ripped double down the left-field line. Ryan Zimmerman came through with a big single to right that knocked in Flores and Steven Lombardozzi. But after knocking out McDonald, they could not convert against the Pittsburgh bullpen, and the Bucs would clinch the season series with a 5-3 win.

The Nats now begin interleague play on Friday night by hosting the Baltimore Orioles. Game 1 will feature a pitching matchup of Edwin Jackson and Jake Arrieta.

For more Nationals coverage and discussion, check out Federal Baseball. For more on the Pirates, head over to Bucs Dugout. For the latest news and analysis from around the big leagues, check out Baseball Nation.