Joe Musgrove allowed six runs and made a pair of errors in an 11-1 loss to the Nationals Wednesday night.
“I didn’t really have great stuff tonight, from the bullpen all the way out to the fifth inning,” said Musgrove. “I had a lot of trouble getting the extension side stuff going to righties, and that sets up everything for me. It allows my slider to play better, the cutter to play better. So I felt like I was working with half the weapons tonight.”
After flirting with trouble by surrendering some long fly balls in the first two innings and throwing away a pick-off attempt in the first, it ended up being Musgrove’s (8-12) fielding that caused the dam to break in the third.
With a runner on first and nobody out, Musgrove cleanly fielded a comebacker bunt and tried to get the out at second. However, his foot slipped and the throw sailed into center field.
“That’s a play that I need to make right there,” Musgrove said. “At least get one out. I thought we had a chance to get two if I make a good throw.”
Six runs scored that inning, with Asdrubal Cabrera capping the rally with a three run homer on a 3-2 count.
While Musgrove followed with two scoreless frames, his final line still read six runs allowed, five earned, over five innings. He walked two, allowed seven hits and struck out one.
The Nationals would end up scoring three times in the eighth against Parker Markel and twice in the ninth against Francisco Liriano.
On the other side of the rubber, Patrick Corbin (10-5) spun a gem, tossing eight shutout innings of three hit ball.
Corbin’s ability to mix speeds was a problem for Pirates hitters, according to Clint Hurdle. His fastball touched 95 MPH while his curveball came in at 63 MPH.
“I haven’t seen that in a long time,” said Hurdle.
The Pirates eventually scrapped together a run in the ninth when Josh Bell doubled home Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds had two singles in his four trips to the plate, and it’s Bell’s 99th RBI of the season.
Dario Agrazal pitched two perfect innings of relief in what was supposed to be his throw day. He is now in line to start in the recently injured Chris Archer’s place.
Jose Osuna made his second pitching appearance of the year in the ninth, allowing an inherited run to score on a single and getting Adam Eaton to fly out.
The Pirates are 8-29 since the All-Star break.
Steven Brault (3-2, 4.06) will try to keep his good mojo going against the Nationals at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. Washington will counter with Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.41).
1. The Pirates are 11-22 against lefty starters this year. Their .333 winning percentage against southpaws is the worst in baseball.
2. The Pirates have been held to one run or fewer in four of their last five games.
3. Cabrera’s home run was the 183rd home run Pirate pitchers have surrendered this year, tied for the most in franchise history (1996).