It was a day of firsts for Pirates starter Chase De Jong in today’s game against the Nationals at Nationals Park.
One was a good first—he got his first major league hit in the third inning against the Nats’ Paolo Espino. It was a double, even. Good job, dude. (fist bump)
The other wasn’t as good—he was handed his first loss as a Buc.
Fueled by homers by Yan Gomes and Josh Bell, the Nationals took the game and the series, 3-1. The Pirates’ loss streak now stands at ten, the longest since 2011.
Derek Shelton’s decision to pull De Jong after four innings was met with some confusion by Pirates fans. While he did give up the home run to Gomes in the second and three other hits, he struck out five and had only thrown 71 pitches. Chasen Shreve had a 1-2-3 inning and Chris Stratton managed to get out unscathed after walking two and giving up a hit, but it was hometown hero David Bednar who let the game get away from the Bucs. In the seventh inning, he dished up a single to Juan Soto before hanging a four-seamer to Bell, who sent it straight to the right center bleachers and some guy with a cockatoo, which Joe Block and Bob Walk proceeded to talk about the rest of the game.
This is the state of the Pirate Ship these days—the announcers would rather talk about a bird than, say, Richard Rodriguez’s nice-looking eighth inning.
The lone Pirates run came in the eighth inning courtesy of a Ke’Bryan Hayes double and a Bryan Reynolds single that brought him home. There was a flurry in the ninth inning when Jacob Stallings cheetahed a single, as did pinch hitter Erik Gonzalez. Alas, Adam Frazier’s bat went chilly at the wrong time, grounding out to second to end the game.
There was another first in this game, this time for the Nationals, as Espino got his first MLB win at the tender age of ... 34. As was noted in the game thread, this looked very much like a game between the bottom two offenses in MLB rather than any sort of pitching duel.
Here come the roster moves. Again.