May 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) in action in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
McDonald struck out 11, mostly with that toxic breaking ball of his, making it the fifth straight start in which he's registered at least seven strikeouts. He gave up no hits until the sixth, when Jesus Flores led off with a double. McDonald ended up giving up three earned runs in that inning, as Steve Lombardozzi followed with a double, Ryan Zimmerman knocked them both in with a single a couple batters later, and Adam LaRoche tripled. Nonetheless, this was a fantastic start by a pitcher who really appears to be coming into his own.
Meanwhile, Andrew McCutchen blasted two homers, the first of which went to the opposite field. Those two shots bring his OPS up to .942 for the season. Outside of McCutchen, some of the Pirates' bats stayed quiet, but Rod Barajas' resurgence continued, as he had three hits (including a two-run homer in the fourth), and Josh Harrison also had two hits.