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Adam LaRoche leads Nationals to comeback victory against Pirates

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals came back from a 3-0 lead and then walked off against the Pirates Saturday, 4-3.

I just worked 15 straight hours for MLBTR (which isn't a usual thing, fortunately) and am having a hard time processing things right now, but I had the game on in the background and it felt like it was 3-0 and then I went to make some pasta and I was away from the screen for about two minutes and I came back and it was 3-3. Maybe that happened, and maybe it didn't.

In any case, Jeff Locke pitched very well, striking out six in 5.2 innings. The Pirates scored three runs in the third on an RBI double by Starling Marte and a two-run single by Gaby Sanchez, and it looked like that would be more than enough, especially when Tony Watson came out in the eighth. Unfortunately, he walked the first batter, and then the next two hit weak singles, the latter of which scored a run. Then Watson got Anthony Rendon to ground into a double play, and up came Adam LaRoche for a lefty-on-lefty matchup ... and he blasted off to right field. 3-3. If Pirates could go back in time and somehow talk Dave LaRoche out of procreating, I'm sure they would.

Anyway, baseball is unpredictable, and nothing is inevitable, and all those things I always say -- I really believe them. But after LaRoche's homer, even I had trouble believing that the Pirates really had a shot. Justin Wilson pitched the ninth, giving up a leadoff walk to Bryce Harper, who moved up to second on a wild pitch. Wilson Ramos hit a fly ball over Gregory Polanco's head, and Polanco seemed to have no idea where it was, or perhaps he was at that moment totally dumfounded by the idea that he had these things called "legs," really high-functioning and fast legs, that could move him in the direction of the flying white projectile that was projectiling toward the wall behind him. I mean, if you think about it for a second, it really is miraculous, in an Insane Clown Posse sort of way. Like how if you say the word "please" 80 times in a row, it stops having meaning and turns into merely a series of sounds -- really stupid sounds like "puh" and "lee" and "zzz" that seem unsuited to the beautiful act of asking for something nicely. Or how, if you really think about the state of Arkansas, it's, like, weird, because you've never even met anyone from there, and it's just spelled "Kansas" but with "Ar" for some reason stapled to the beginning, like some 18th-century cartographer got really weirded out by the vastness of the frontier and just started making up place names that sounded silly, like "Kalalalalamazoo" or "Butte" or "Billinois." Or how Bryce Harper exists, and emerged as a top baseball prospect at the age of like twelve and a half, and looks like a demented extra from Neighbors.

Anyway, none of this is intended as strong criticism of Polanco. It turns out the finer points of outfield defense aren't easy, and it took Andrew McCutchen several years in the big leagues to figure out how to deal with balls hit over his head. (Also, overall, this was a pretty good defensive game for the Pirates' outfield -- both Starling Marte and Travis Snider made great catches in this game.) Instead, I guess what I'm getting at is that a baseball game can turn from something easy and pleasant into something completely dark and absurd and intractable. Adam LaRoche took way too much blame for the darkness and absurdity of the late Littlefield and early Huntington years, but this time, this game, it really was his fault. And now the Pirates are in game four of a losing streak they can scarcely afford. Thanks a lot, Adam.