Game 100: Nationals 9 Pirates 7

Trying to follow along with this game via a radio broadcast and Gameday was more or less impossible. The Pirates played terrible defense in the first inning, the strike zone seemed unfathomabley complicated, both managers got ejected, Pedro Alvarez was apparently called out after a half-turn the wrong way after running through the first base bag (thus vindicating every jerk Little League coach in America), and the game was full of plenty of other strange twists and turns. 

Anyway, the Pirates fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, thanks in no small part to errors by Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez (with a harmless error by Jordy Mercer tossed in for good measure). The Pirates then spent the next four innings putting tons of players on base against Gio Gonzalez, but repeatedly doing nothing at all, save an RBI groundout by AJ Burnett. Just as it seemed like the entire Pirate fanbase was going to explode with anger from the lack of hitting with runners on base, Josh Harrison blasted a two-run homer to make the score 4-3. It stayed that way for a while. At one point, I think Clint Hurdle tried to pull AJ Burnett but was forbidden by Burnett from doing so. Hurdle then got ejected after the weird play with Alvarez. Burnett pitched seven innings, then came out in favor of Vin Mazzaro. Mazzaro gave up some hits and allowed a run, but it looked like he was going to escape the inning without a ton of damage until Travis Snider dove for a sinking Adam LaRoche line drive that should've been an out, misplaying it into a two-run triple. With the Nationals seemingly safely ahead by a score of 7-3, the Pirates decided to start hitting with runners in scoring position in the top of the ninth. After Neil Walker and Starling Marte (!) walked to start the inning, Jordy Mercer singled Walker home. Two batters later, Russell Martin singled Marte home. Pedro Alvarez walked to load the bases up, but then Jose Tabata struck out for the inning's second out. Josh Harrison then singled home two more runners to tie the game, causing Greg Brown's brain to actually explode and possibly damage the speakers on my computer. 

Then Garrett Jones struck out, Bryan Morris took the mound, and Bryce Harper hit a two-out, two-run walkoff home run and the Pirates lost anyway. 

The Pirates got three out of four on the road from the Nats, they battled back from a big deficit, AJ Burnett looked pretty good on the mound, and they managed to not take 19 innings to lose, so it's hard to be hugely upset over this game. Still, between the errors, all of the squandered opportunities early on, and Snider's misplay in the eighth, it does feel like this one might've been a winnable game that the Pirates let slip away. 

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.