Nationals 5, Pirates 4

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- On a day filled with missed opportunities, it was a .171 hitter who came through with the game-winning RBI for the Washington Nationals.

Tyler Moore's sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning gave the Nationals a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon at PNC Park.

With the score tied 4-4, Ryan Zimmerman started the winning rally in the ninth by getting hit by a pitch from Tony Watson (1-1). Adam LaRoche followed with a single and the runners moved up on a double steal.

Moore followed by lofting a fly ball near the right-field line. Travis Snider made the catch but a sliding Zimmerman easily beat the throw.

The Nationals had only one hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.

Moore has struggled this season as he has yet to hit a home run and has five RBI in 35 at-bats. Last season, he hit 10 home runs in 75 games as a rookie.

Tyler Clippard (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Rafael Soriano blanked the Pirates in the ninth for his 10th save. The Pirates helped Soriano when Russell Martin led off with a single but was thrown out at second base by center fielder Roger Bernadina as he tried to stretch the hit into a double.

Starling Marte and Clint Barmes hit two-run home runs for Pittsburgh. Barmes was the only player on either team with multiple hits as he had two.

Neither starter figured in the decision.

The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. Strasburg has not won in his last six starts since beating Miami on opening day on April 1.

He was not as dominant as in his other two starts against the Pirates, when he struck out 14 in his scintillating major-league debut in 2010 and then fanned 13 last May.

Jeff Locke went five innings for the Pirates and had his scoreless innings streak stopped at 15 in the third. He allowed four runs -- three earned -- three hits and three walks while striking out three.

Washington's Wilson Ramos tied the score at 4-4 in the sixth inning when he bounced a two-run single up the middle off Justin Wilson.

The Nationals opened the scoring in the top of the third on Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly.

Marte answered in the bottom half of the inning when he hit a two-run home run, his fourth of the season, to the right-center field seats off Strasburg to put the Pirates ahead 2-1.

Washington tied it in the fourth when Ryan Zimmerman led off with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on Adam LaRoche's sacrifice fly.

Barmes put the Pirates in front 4-2 in the fifth with his first homer of the season in his 77th at-bat.

NOTES: Washington CF Denard Span sat out Saturday's game with a bruised left ankle. It was the first game he missed this season. Span was injured Friday night when he fouled two pitches off the ankle. ... Nationals RF Jayson Werth missed his second straight game and fourth in the last five with a strained right hamstring. He is also expected to sit out Sunday's game. ... Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton was examined by team doctors Saturday, a day after he left his rehab start with Class AAA Indianapolis at the end of the third inning because of shoulder inflammation. Morton underwent an MRI and the results may not be available until Monday. However, Morton said he felt better Saturday and was optimistic that he did not suffer any structural damage. ... Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 5.34) faces Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez (2-1, 3.91) on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series.
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