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Pirates lose 9-7 in strangest game of year

Greg Fiume

The Pirates lost 9-7 on Bryce Harper's walk-off homer against Bryan Morris in what turned out to be the strangest game of the year so far.

The Nats jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first thanks to a rare awful defensive inning from the Pirates, who made three errors.

From there the game was characterized largely by umpire Mike Winters' all-over-the-place strike zone, which managed to anger managers of both teams. The Bucs scored one in the fourth. In the fifth, Burnett loaded the bases with no outs, then struck out Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond, both looking. That angered Davey Johnson, who argued Winters' calls and got tossed.

In the sixth, Gaby Sanchez singled, and then Josh Harrison hit his first homer (!) of the year to make it 4-3.

With two outs in the seventh, Pedro Alvarez hit an infield single, but got called out after passing the bag after he made what appeared to be a slight turn toward first. That brought out Clint Hurdle, who also got ejected.

The Nats scored three off Vin Mazzaro in the eighth on an inning powered by Adam LaRoche's triple (?!?!). (Travis Snider dove for it and missed.)

At that point, the Bucs were down 7-3, and Rafael Soriano entered to pitch the ninth. He walked the first two batters, then allowed a double to Jordy Mercer. Then, with one out, Russell Martin singled to make it 7-5. Pedro Alvarez then walked, and two batters later, Harrison hit a ground-ball single to tie the game. The Pirates, having apparently forgotten that they weren't supposed to hit with runners in scoring position, had tied it.

With Mark Melancon unavailable (partly because he pitched that pointless inning on Tuesday, probably), the Bucs turned to Bryan Morris in the bottom of the ninth, and he gave up a single to Kurt Suzuki and then Harper's homer. This was a spot where not having Jason Grilli really hurt the Bucs. Had he been healthy, or had Melancon been available, this game probably would still be going on.

Oh, and Vic Black made his major-league debut in there two, throwing 98 MPH while walking a batter and whiffing another.