Chris Archer was lights out in his seven innings, but the Nationals homered on back to back pitches in the eighth against Richard Rodriguez and the Pirates lost 3-2.
Leading 2-1 entering the eighth, Rodriguez (0-1) quickly retired the first two Washington batters before Adam Eaton began to battle. Eaten would end up winning, driving the ninth pitch into the right field bleachers. Howie Kendrick took the next pitch to left-center for the eventual game-winner.
The Pirates put two runners on in the ninth, but closer Sean Doolittle got pinch-hitter Jung-Ho Kang to strike out and Adam Frazier to pop out to left to end the game.
Chris Archer’s efforts on the day result in a no-decision. He struck out nine in his seven innings pitched, walking two and allowing four hits. He did not record an out until his 18th pitch, but he managed his pitch count from there, thanks in part to inducing two double-plays.
The Pirates got on the board in the fourth on a Colin Moran RBI double. Kurt Suzuki tied it in the home half of the inning with an RBI knock, but Melky Cabrera broke the stalemate with his first home run of the season in the sixth.
Wander Suero (1-0) gets the win and Doolittle earns his first save.
The Pirates will try to savage the series Sunday with Jameson Taillon (0-2, 3.00). Max Scherzer (1-2, 3.32) will throw the first pitch at 1:35 p.m..
1. The Pirates have lost three times this year after leading through seven innings. They were 69-3 after leading through seven innings in 2018.
2. Archer got seven whiffs and 10 called strikes on 33 sliders Saturday (51.5%).
3. Archer singled in the top of the seventh inning, hitting it with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH. That is the hardest hit ball by a Pirates pitcher since Jameson Taillon roped a ball 104.2 MPH against Jon Lester on Sep. 7, 2017.