PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and Nationals wrapped up their series on a cold Easter afternoon.
Cole Tucker and Josh VanMeter delivered back-to-back singles, Jake Marisnick laid down a sacrifice bunt, Vogelbach intentionally walked, a wild pitch, and a Chavis single later and the Pirates took home a 4-3 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Pirates scored one more time after an overturned challenge which showed Yoshi Tsutsugo to be safe on a would-be inning-ending double play. Since the call was overturned and Daniel Vogelbach scored, the Pirates took a 5-3 lead.
That seventh inning surge proved enough for the Pirates as they won the game 5-3 over the Nationals. By winning this afternoon, not only did they win the series, but the Pirates also improved to 5-4 and are above .500 for the first time this season.
Jose Quintana had trouble throwing strikes in the second inning on top of getting singled to death. Quintana gave up four straight singles to Lane Thomas, Alcides Escobar, Riley Adams, and Victor Robles. As a result, the Nationals found themselves up 3-0.
The second inning could’ve been a whole lot worse if it wasn’t for Michael Chavis making a diving catch at third base, saving at least one run from scoring. Chavis has had himself a nice weekend, and that defensive play put it over the top.
Quintana’s day was finished after 4+ innings pitched, gave up five hits, three walks, three earned runs, and two strikeouts. Wil Crowe came in relief and looked good yet again.
The Pirates’ offense had a total of two hits through the first five innings of play. Despite only having a small sample of base runners, the Pirates had four opportunities to put some runs on the board. The Pirates were 0-4, with runners in scoring position through five innings.
A Vogelbach walk, a Chavis single, and a Yoshi Tsutsugo walk set up a big opportunity for Diego Castillo. Although Castillo hit a ground ball, forcing out Tsutsugo, he showed great hustle to allow a run to score, making it a 3-1 Nationals lead.
Ben Gamel continued the sixth inning with a poke into left field, scoring Michael Chavis. That single pulled the Pirates within a run; the score was 3-2 going into the seventh inning.
Crowe delivered two and two-thirds of scoreless ball. The only two hits Crowe gave up were to former Pirate first baseman Josh Bell. Crowe’s final line read 2.2 innings pitched, two hits, no earned runs, one walk, and one strikeout.
David Bednar, who came in the seventh inning last game, appeared as this afternoon’s closer. He needed to face just four batters to close this one out. The Pirates now travel to Milwaukee for a three-game series.