Maybe I won’t have to go to Iceland after all.
Tyler Glasnow had some good innings and some bad, and Adam Frazier drove in four runs, as the Pirates beat Washington, 10-4. The win gave them a series win, two of three, against the NL’s hottest team.
Glasnow got off to a good start, getting the top of the Nationals’ lineup in order in the first and third innings. That included a strikeout of Bryce Harper in the first. The third ended on a leaping catch by third baseman Josh Harrison, shifted over near the shortstop position, on a soft liner by Harper. In between Glasnow had a shaky second, giving up a one-out HR to Daniel Murphy and a pair of two-out walks before fanning the pitcher to end the inning.
The Pirates meanwhile built a 4-1 lead. Josh Bell golfed a down-and-in curve high over the Clemente Wall for a two-run HR in the first, his ninth longball of the year and second in the series. The blast scored Adam Frazier, who had singled. It could have led to more, but shortstop Trea Turner made a diving play up the middle to rob Andrew McCutchen of a hit.
The Pirates got another pair in the third. Harrison walked and McCutchen singled to start the inning. (McCutchen also lined out in his third AB and doubled in his fourth, so he seems to be swinging the bat better now.) Tanner Roark then walked Bell and John Jaso to force in a run. A force out on Jordy Mercer brought in another run.
The Nats tied it in the fourth, with Glasnow again proving to be his own worst enemy, although not in the usual way. A walk and a single left two on with one out, and Adam Lind brought in one run with a double off the wall in center. With runners on second and third, Glasnow had a chance to escape further damage when he fanned Michael Taylor and got Roark to dribble one back to the mound. Unfortunately, Glasnow’s throw to first sailed into the runner and got past Bell, letting two runs score. Glasnow rebounded with another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, though, including another strikeout of Harper. That finished his day at 87 pitches, three hits, three walks, two earned and two unearned runs, and six strikeouts. On the whole, the game provided a good example of why the Pirates are making the right decision by sticking with Glasnow. He’s shown in short stretches that he can dominate major league hitters and that reinforcement may serve him a lot better than facing AAA hitters who can’t do much more against him than hope to draw a walk.
In the bottom of the fifth, John Jaso blasted his third HR well into the Pirates’ bullpen in center, putting the Bucs back on top. Roark, who struggled throughout the game, stayed in to open the sixth, but came out after giving up a single to Chris Stewart and a walk to Gift Ngoepe to start the inning. By then he was up to 114 pitches, which no doubt is a reflection of the Nationals’ bullpen problems. Adam Frazier greeted Blake Treinen with a two-run double, went to third on an error and scored on a fly by Harrison. That made it 8-4.
The Pirates also have bullpen problems, mainly a dearth of pitchers they can use when a game is in some degree of doubt. So they brought on Wade LeBlanc for his second multi-inning outing in barely over half a day. LeBlanc had a quick sixth, thanks in part to a double play, but gave up a single and a double to open the seventh. With second and third and no out, he got a strikeout looking on Turner and a fielder’s choice out at the plate, leaving runners at the corners with two out and Harper up. There couldn’t possibly be a better spot for Felipe Rivero and the lefty came in to fan Harper on a string of 99- to 100-mph fastballs.
The Pirates tacked on two more in the bottom half of the seventh as Frazier drove in Danny Ortiz, who’d gotten his first major league hit, and Stewart, who’d also singled. That left Frazier 3-5 with four RBIs. He’s now 11-for-26 (.423) since returning from the disabled list. The 10-4 cushion was enough that the Pirates dared to go with two of their white flag guys, Johnny Barbato and Daniel Hudson, for the last two innings, both of which concluded without incident.
The Pirates have won four of five and await the Phillies for a three-game, weekend set at PNC.