Jun 21, 2015, 11:51 AM EST
Happy Father’s Day, everyone.
After returning home this week only to lose their first two games against the Rays, the Nationals enter Sunday with a chance to sweep the Pittsburg Pirates, a team that had won eight straight before coming to town.
Gio Gonzalez (4-4, 4.82) will take his turn in the rotation after a pair of gems by rookie Joe Ross and Max Scherzer to begin the series. Gio struggled his last time out with five earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Rays.
Pitching for the Pirates will be right-hander Charlie Morton (5-0, 1.62). He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts, a stretch of 14 1/3 total innings.
Anthony Rendon is out of the Nats’ lineup today. Matt Williams doesn’t talk pregame on Sundays, so we’ll find out this evening if there’s anything more to that than just him having a day off.
Updates to come, so please check back…
PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 87 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
1B Clint Robinson
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
SS Ian Desmond
LF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez
2B Josh Harrison
LF Starling Marte
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B Jung Ho Kang
C Francisco Cervelli
RF Jose Tabata
1B Corey Hart
SS Jordy Mercer
RHP Charlie Morton
HP Sean Barber
1B Mark Wegner
2B Mike Winters (cc)
3B Mike Muchlinski
2:15 p.m. — Well, that was something. The Nationals leave the first inning with a … wait for it… 9-0 lead. Nine runs, in one inning. The first two came on a Harper 2-run homer, his 24th of the season. Lobaton and Taylor then added RBI singles. Desmond scored on a throwing error by Morton to first base. Gio then had an RBI double and Escobar added a three-run homer. Nine freaking runs. Morton has left the game after throwing 43 pitches. So now Gio will go back out there for the second inning.
2:29 p.m. — The second inning was far less eventful, though the Nats did see both Espinosa and Lobaton reach on singles. It remains 9-0 with the third up next.
2:41 p.m. — It’s still 9-0 after three. The Pirates got Mercer on with a leadoff walk, but that was it for them. The Nats then went down 1-2-3 to Vance Worley. On to the fourth.
2:56 p.m. — The game is still stuck at 9-0 after four innings. McCutchen led off the fourth with a walk, but Cervelli grounded into a double play to end the frame. Worley then struck out the side. Gio has thrown 44 pitches through four.
3:09 p.m. — Nothing much to report on from the fifth inning. The Pirates went down in order and Gio is at 54 pitches. Lobaton led off with a walk, but that was it for the Nats. On to the sixth.
3:25 p.m. — Gonzalez pitched another scoreless frame in the sixth inning, keeping his pitch count at 71 on the afternoon so far. The bats were unable to get anything going in the bottom of the inning, and it’s still 9-0 heading to the seventh.
3:45 p.m. — Gio keeps on rolling, and is now through seven shutout innings at 85 pitches. It would be his final one of the afternoon. His final line: Seven innings, four hits, two walks, four strikeouts and no runs allowed. Matt Thornton coming on in the eighth.
4:00 p.m. — Thornton comes on in the eighth inning and keeps the score 9-0. In doing so, the Nats set a new club record with 24 consecutive scoreless innings. The score remains 9-0 heading to the ninth inning.
4:11 p.m. —And that’ll do it for this one. Nats beat the Pirates 9-2 and sweep the weekend series. Enjoy the rest of your Father’s Day, everyone!
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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