The Pirates outlasted a tough pitcher, Trevor Williams overcame some control/umpire issues, and Colin Moran rendered moot Clint Hurdle’s dubious lineup and bullpen usage to give the Pirates a 6-3, ten-inning win over Washington.
The Pirates got the early lead, as Josh Bell led off the second with his third home run, well into the left field seats. Williams gave it back in the bottom half, walking the anemic-hitting Wilmer Difo (who for some reason destroys the Pirates — career 1.036 OPS coming in) with two outs and a man on. His mound opponent then looped an RBI single just over the infield. The Nats took the lead as Anthony Rendon went deep off Williams with two outs in the third.
Apart from Bell, the Pirates could do nothing with Patrick Corbin. Their one opportunity came when Erik Gonzalez reached third with one out in the third. Adam Frazier and Starling Marte let that chance go by with a pair of whiffs. Corbin fanned 11, and allowed just four hits and a walk (to Bell) in seven innings of semi-work. Clint Hurdle’s lineup hardly helped; Jung Ho Kang, Pablo Reyes, J.B. Shuck and Jacob Stallings combined to go 1-for-12 against Corbin. Kang finished 0-for-4 with three whiffs.
Williams meanwhile studily persevered through six and a third solid innings, overcoming a miniaturized strike zone with the help of a lot of line drive outs. He finished with two runs allowed on four hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. He left with a man on third (the Nats did Williams a favor by having red-hot Victor Robles bunt on 2-0 after a leadoff double), but Richard Rodriguez stranded the runner with the help of a great diving catch in left by Reyes.
Fortunately, Corbin was over 100 pitches and left after seven. The Pirates quickly got after the Nats’ struggling bullpen in the eighth. Gonzalez got his second hit and Frazier, with one out, singled and took second on the throw to third. Marte then singled hard past third to score both runners and the Pirates led 3-2.
Unfortunately Hurdle, mindlessly managing by the book as always, went with the badly struggling Keone Kela in the bottom half. Kela coughed up the lead on his very first batter, giving up Rendon’s second longball of the day. The Pirates had a chance to get the lead back in the top of the ninth when Shuck tripled with one out off Washington closer Sean Doolittle, but he was thrown out at the plate when Stallings grounded to first. Nick Burdi survived a one-out double in the bottom half, striking out two and sending the game into extras.
In the tenth, the unstoppable Melky Cabrera led off with a pinch hit double. The Nats then screwed up Frazier’s bunt to leave runners at the corners. After an unproductive out, Colin Moran hit for Kang and launched a three-run bomb to right-center, his second home run of the year. Felipe Vázquez finished it off, allowing just a harmless double.