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Pirates shutout Nats to take the series

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Williams and the backend of the Pirates’ bullpen combined for a five hit shutout of the Washington Nationals Wednesday afternoon, and the Bucs took the rubber match of the series with a 2-0 win.

This was the 10th shutout of the season for Pirates pitchers, tying them with the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs for the most in baseball.

Williams (7-7) went five shutout innings, working around four hits and three walks while striking out three. Two of those walks came in the first inning. On the day, he threw 10 three-ball counts, with six coming in the first inning.

His afternoon ended by striking out Bryce Harper with two runners on base, but he needed a couple calls from home plate umpire Jerry Meals to help him out.

Courtesy of Baseball Savant.

Williams was followed by Richard Rodriguez, Edgar Santana, Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez, each of whom threw a scoreless inning. Vazquez struck out the side for his 20th save of the season.

Nationals’ starter Gio Gonzalez (6-6) went six innings of two run ball, surrendering six hits and a walk while fanning four.

The Pirates only offense came in the third inning when Starling Marte hit a two run home run to center field. Jordy Mercer, who lead off the inning with a double, also scored on the dinger.

On Deck

The Pirates will begin a do-or-die five game home series against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday at 7:05 p.m.. Jameson Taillon (5-7, 4.05) will take the bump against Wade Miley (1-0, 1.42).

NUMB3RS

1. Crick and Vazquez have each made 12 consecutive scoreless appearances.

2. The Nationals only had one hard hit ball on their seven balls in play against Pirate relieves today (95+ MPH Exit Velocity recorded by Baseball Savant).

3. Marte was caught stealing in the fifth inning. It was just the second time in the Pirates last 19 stolen base attempts that they have been caught.