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Nationals 4, Pirates 2: Bucs Lose Sixth In A Row

The Pirates got a seven-strikeout performance from Paul Maholm but, as has been typical in his starts, still managed to lose. The Bucs got 10 hits but ran their way into two outs in the fourth (on an unnecessary attempt to get from first to third by Brandon Wood, and on a missed squeeze play, which the Pirates attempted with slow-footed Chris Snyder on third) and lost an out when a trap by Jayson Werth was called a catch. The Wood play was close, but it was a very silly risk on a ball that was hit to center field and not deep.

Nonetheless, the Pirates and Nats had a 2-2 tie in the seventh, at which point the Bucs for some reason decided to have Jose Ascanio enter in relief of Maholm with a man on and one out. Maybe Clint Hurdle felt that was just something that had to happen after a series against the Brewers when the Bucs' starters never worked deeper than five innings, but by bringing in Ascanio there, the Bucs pretty much served the Nats the game on a platter. Sure enough, Ascanio promptly gave up a two-run jack to Danny Espinosa. (UPDATE: Ironically, the pitch Espinosa hit for a homer actually wasn't a bad one. He caught a bit too much of the plate with it, but it was down. But there's no way he should have been in there.)