Pirates pounce on shaky Nationals bullpen in 10-7 victory

Sep 11, 2021, 7:48 AM | Updated: 11:51 pm

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Reynolds hit his 23rd home run of the season and drove in three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates surged past the Washington Nationals 10-7 on Saturday.

Reynolds hit a two-run shot to right-center field in the fifth and gave Pittsburgh the lead in the sixth when he worked a bases-loaded walk against Washington reliever Andres Machado. The walk was one of 10 issued by the struggling Nationals, who have dropped 12 of 15.

Ben Gamel hit his seventh home run — and first in more than two months — in the fifth. Colin Moran singled twice and drove in four runs for Pittsburgh, which was won four of five.

The last-place Pirates have also won nine games this season when trailing by three runs or more, tied with Milwaukee for the most in the National League.

“That’s just kind of who we are as guys,” Reynolds said. “We never think we’re out of it.”

The Pirates broke it up with a four-run sixth. Three walks — two of them by Alberto Baldonado (0-1) loaded the bases with two outs and Reynolds gave Pittsburgh the lead when Machado walked him on five pitches. Moran’s infield single scored Hoy Park to make it 7-5 and Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes raced home when Washington second baseman Luis Garcia mishandled a sharp grounder by Gamel.

“Just trying to get good pitches to hit, and if it wasn’t there, just taking our walks and giving it to the next guy,” Reynolds said. “That’s what we’re doing tonight and it worked out well.”

Kyle Keller (1-1) earned the victory in relief of starter Wil Crowe. Chris Stratton worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Juan Soto went 4 for 5 — all singles — for Washington. Josh Bell added two hits in his second game back at PNC Park after being traded from Pittsburgh to the Nationals last December. Ryan Zimmerman hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth that shaved the deficit to three.

Washington starter Josiah Gray remained winless in nine career starts after letting a three-run lead in the fifth slip away. Reynolds’ two-run shot drew the Pirates within one and Gamel tied it two batters later.

The 23-year-old Gray’s biggest issue was his command. He only allowed three hits in five innings but was done in by six walks, the most issued by any Nationals pitcher this season.

“A lot of the walks, a lot of them started 1-0, 2-0,” Gray said. “You have to be a little finer when you’re behind in counts and I got way too behind today. I threw 55 % strikes today. Incredibly bad.”

Crowe, drafted by Washington in 2018 before being involved in the deal that sent Bell to the Nationals, labored through four innings. Crowe needed 78 pitches to get 12 outs, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

REMEMBERING 9/11

The Pirates honored victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by hosting families whose loved ones were killed when United 93 crashed in Shanksville, about 80 miles southeast of PNC Park. The hijacked airliner was heading for a target in Washington, D.C. on that day 20 years ago when passengers overran the cockpit before it came down in the western Pennsylvania hills.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Washington catcher Keibert Ruiz hit a bases-clearing triple in the top of fourth but exited the game in the sixth after being hit in the head by a 95 mph fastball from Keller. Ruiz was tended to by trainers before walking off the field under his own power. He was replaced by Riley Adams.

Pirates: Placed LHP Steven Brault on the 10-day injured list with what the club called a “recurrent left arm lat strain.” Brault missed the first four months of the season with the same injury. Pittsburgh called up reliever Connor Overton from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Brault’s place on the roster. The Pirates claimed Overton off waiver from Toronto on Monday.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (7-14, 6.14 ERA) gets the nod in the series finale. Corbin is unbeaten (2-0, 0.77) in three starts against Pittsburgh since joining Washington in 2019.

Pirates: RHP Bryse Wilson (2-6, 4.60) is still searching for his first win with Pittsburgh since being acquired from Atlanta at the trade deadline.

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Pirates pounce on shaky Nationals bullpen in 10-7 victory