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Game 70: Pirates at Nats

Jun 21, 2015, 11:51 AM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

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

NATIONALS (36-33)
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

PIRATES (39-29)
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

UMPIRES
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!

102 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Candide - Jun 21, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Tabata in right for the Bucs today.

    “Yeah, Gio’s pitching today. You know that Gio can be a little wild at times. I wouldn’t dig in if I was you…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHfP6X_axY

    • fstop1970 - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      Awesome!

  2. Candide - Jun 21, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    “Hit by pitch? That’s not a hit by pitch. HERE’S a hit by pitch.”

    • 3on2out - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      Iconic scene Candide! Thanks for the memories!

  3. Danny - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    Gio about to kill the good vibes

  4. ITGSOT - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    No plunking of Tabata is needed. A Barry Bonds/ARod level of booing from a sellout crowd every time he comes up will be perfectly sufficient.

    • nycnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      Even better, strike him out three times. No need to let him be the focus. We should celebrate the no-hitter, not dwell on that play.

      • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Agreed. Just strike him out.

        From last thread;

        ___________

        I thought comments about Tabata were over the top last night. No team wants to get no-hit, even more be the short end of a perfect game. Be competitive until the last out.

        See the article below. Scherzer went well beyond being gracious. He even said he probably would have done the same thing.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/06/20/max-scherzers-classy-response-to-jose-tabata/?tid=HP_sports?tid=HP_sports

      • npb99 - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Responding to dcwonk, I agree. People were vitriolic. I missed the game but saw a replay online and what I saw was a high inside pitch that would have been called a ball. And shouldn’t a player try to prevent his team from being shut out or no-hit, or whatever?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:42 PM

        Still, there are things that aren’t against the rules, but against well- and long-established convention, that one just doesn’t do. Steal when you’re up big, late. Bunt, late, to break up a no-hitter. It’s just considered unprofessional. Some people care more than others, sure, but that doesn’t invalidate the offense taken, or proportional response.

        Some folks get macho and become fake-tough guys on a more-or-less anonymous Internet comment board, well … what else is new?

  5. rlndtln - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Win the game

  6. philipd763 - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    Good lineup except for Desi and Gio.

  7. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Gio pay attention to the the starts by Scherzer and Ross. Attack the strike zone and absolutely do not nibble.

    The keys to be pitching well.

    • rlndtln - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:43 PM

      Also keep your poise.The umpire is not the problem.Throw strikes.

      • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:13 PM

        He has always had trouble throwing strikes. Even in his best years. It’s who he is. He’s hard to hit, but lots of walks. He ain’t changing.

    • Candide - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:45 PM

      Okay to nibble with McCutchen. You can even walk him.

      Just keep your cool afterwards and get Kang to GIDP.

  8. jschildk - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    Those of you in the know: who should be the starting pitcher for Thursday’s 4:05 game? Thanks.

    • stoatva - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:24 PM

      I’d say it depends on how they reset the rotation if and when they activate Stras for Tuesday. I’m sure they’d like to pitch Scherzer at home for $$$ reasons, but that would be pretty disruptive.

    • npb99 - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      “in the know?” You mean, those of us who like to speculate and have strong opinions?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:47 PM

        Right. As opposed to those of us who make out the actual lineup card.
        😉

  9. natsdial8 - Jun 21, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    Not sure how so many people see the guy leaning in . I don’t see it . I see him checking a bit and slightly turning away . He didn’t fly out of the box but it wasn’t 100mph going for his head . It was a bad pitch .

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      Agreed. Boswell said that he moved toward the ball one inch, and then blamed the ump.

      Otoh, Scherzer blamed himself for throwing a slider that didn’t slide.

      As Scherzer said: that’s baseball.

    • zmunchkin - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:34 PM

      It is the fault of MLB for having a rule that the umpires rarely, if ever, enforce. The rule clearly states that if the batter does not attempt to get out of the way of the pitch it is called a ball if it is not in the strike zone. That’s probably why Boswell blamed the umpire.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

      Actually seemed more like he lowered the arm the opposite reaction to when you are defending yourself.

  10. stoatva - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Here at the ballpark where I’m sure Tabata will get a warm reception. My ideal outcome would be for Gio to throw his best curveball straight at the coconut which breaks over the plate as José goes flying.

    Otherwise, let’s let it go. Not that it will be forgotten.

  11. stoatva - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    Band-aids on the left elbow would have been cute, though not very telegenic.

    • rlndtln - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Maybe it is rubbing off on Gio.

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    That was crushed by Bryce! Nice to see a 2 run HR! There goes Morton’s shutout!

  13. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    BAM BAM, Thanks, Nats 2 Bucs 0, one down, bottom 1st!

  14. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Harper violated Mrs B’s rule. He swung at the first pitch.

    Of course I am all about hitting a first fastball pitches if they are where you like them.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    Tabata misplays that double by Robinson. FP says it’s white t-shirts behind homeplate. LOL

  16. thewerthwhisperer - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:51 PM

    When I was a kid, if Mantle came up, you stopped everything you were doing to watch the at bat. Even a strike out was memorable. Bryce is Mantle right now, must see TV, after he comes up, back to Dave and Charlie.

  17. abqnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:52 PM

    Nice by Bryce and glad Robinson is hitting recently.

    Hope Rendon isn’t hurt, but when he hit the rail yesterday, he looked right after like it was painful. Just a bruice, not an injury I hope.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

      on the pregame radio show, MW said tight quad.

  18. Drew - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    Just remarkable.

    21 to reach 100 at age 22.

    676 from Henry Aaron.

    (P.S. Re: Robinson’s double – Sure, Tabita got out of the way of that one.)

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      +1

      Lol

    • nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:03 PM

      By the looks of things, Harper has a real shot at 21 more this year.

  19. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    YES!

    CRob gets home from second? (listening to C&D, wife has claimed TV)

    Coaching visit to the mound in the first inning. Me likey!

    And now Desi on base for Taylor.

  20. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Wow!

    We’re batting our pitcher in the first inning.

    A throw to first gets away!

    Nats 5 Bucs 0.

    Gio doubles! With an RBI! His first hit and first RBI.

    Nats 6 Bucs 0

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Someone here wrote that they had hoped the Nats would do to the Pirates what the Reds did to the Nats in that reversal of fortune thing.

    Charlie Morton had been pitching amazing for the Pirates with a great ERA and coming off of a shutout.

    Nicely surprising!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      Morton actually has 2 back-to-back shutouts and hasn’t given up more than 3 runs all year.

  22. adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    Pirates game feed:

    BiertempfelTrib
    Rob Biertempfel@BiertempfelTrib
    Tabata has trouble getting ball along RF line. Nats fan leans over and gives him the business, loudly.

  23. Nats Fan Zee - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    WOW … two “excuse me” hits by Desi & Taylor and Gio pops a solid hit down the 1st base line … WOW!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      BABIP, put contact on balls and when luck is going your way it goes your way!!!!

  24. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Now Yuni with a 3 run shot! NINE RUNS IN THE FIRST, 11 men batted with our 12th coming up!

    Sweeeeet.

  25. abqnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    now Escobar!

    Just wow!

  26. Tyler Babip - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    Amazing.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    Charlie Morton’s ERA jumps from 1.62 to 3.97. More than doubles!

  28. rlndtln - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    If we do not get 4 all stars something is wrong.

  29. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    Franchise Record, 9 in the first.

    Folks, that’s how you destroy an ERA!

  30. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    If Bryce hits 2 HRs in the 1st inning he joins a very exclusive club!

  31. adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Do I recall correctly that Morton had an ERA of under 2.00 before the start of this game?

    • nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:16 PM

      Ghost said: Charlie Morton’s ERA jumps from 1.62 to 3.97. More than doubles!

      • nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:20 PM

        Ghost also said: Morton actually has 2 back-to-back shutouts and hasn’t given up more than 3 runs all year.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:40 PM

      yes 😉

  32. Nats Fan Zee - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Oh boy …. 10 is a nice round number … come on Bryce!

  33. adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    Escobar with the rally killing HR.

    😉

  34. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Gio let’s have a shut down inning.

  35. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Gio let’s have a shut down inning.

  36. nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    Ask, and you shall receive!

    As for All Stars, Yuni looks like he should be included.

    (I’m hating the online voting though, why the F do they want so much info about me?)

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      It’s nothing google doesn’t already have, but they like to be thorough.

  37. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    The Baseball Gods are just going to [micturate] all over the Pirates, all day today.

    • nataddicted - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

      Okay, now this is a good day. I’m learning a new word!

  38. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    Keep hitting boys. No relaxing

  39. natsjackinfl - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

    That is exactly the crap I can’t stand by Gio. #8 hitter leads off with a walk. Just plain stupid

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:34 PM

      Yep and #LoW are supposed to kill you. Gio got lucky that the pitcher couldn’t get the bunt down.

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      Just an inherent control problem.

  40. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    OK no slacking off hitters. A few more runs please!

  41. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:44 PM

    Gio has McCutcheon 0-2 then goes so high in the zone that nobody would swing at then buries the hook in the dirt than throws 2 more outside the zone to walk him.

    Why Gio?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:46 PM

      Let’s the sinker work for him and gets the pitcher’s best friend 6-4-3 doubleplay.

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      An inherent control problem.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:31 PM

        Could be. He is better than this. Refuses to attack. Nibble nibble for the cheese.

      • adcwonk - Jun 22, 2015 at 11:04 AM

        Could be. He is better than this.

        Actually, I’m not so sure. Even in his last year with the A’s, when he made the all star team, he led all of MLB in walks!

        I realize I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think he nibbles, I think he misses. A lot.

  42. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Bryce was wrong there. That’s a strike.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      Not watching as at my in laws but reading. Pitch track had it high enough

  43. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    Typical. Score 9 runs in the first, run the starter off, and expect to coast the rest of the way. What a bunch of bums!

  44. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    I was over checking Bucs insider.

    Buccygoat complain team is overrated and has no hitters.

    Stick in a fork in them.

    The goat family is consistent.

    • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      +1

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      Maybe it’s a franchise.

  45. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    It’s about 92 degrees, feels like 97 … I’m guessing that Matty doesn’t leave Gio in to finish this, even if it does stay a one-hit shutout.

  46. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Just reading so I can’t tell has Gio hit that wall already?

  47. dcwx61 - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    hard to believe MW would take any starter out before he gets in trouble…but i hope you are right

  48. adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    Can’t Gio get any live around here? Or must we call him stupid after every walk.

    A starter throwing six shutout innings ain’t bupkes, you know.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:20 PM

      Stupid only if he is nibbling with breaking pitches

      • adcwonk - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:52 PM

        And when other pitchers walk guys, we almost never call it nibbling. Only Gio gets massive criticism for that.

        I contend again: he’s not nibbling so much as he just often has a control problem. As he has had his entire career.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

        Because it is fastball driven. Nibbling are curves and sliders that are not close to the zone.

        Strasbourg doesn’t nibble. He misses location

    • conatsguy - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:24 PM

      Happy for Gio. Got out of that jam nice!

  49. manassasnatsfan - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:19 PM

    71 pitches through 6. Should be good for 1 more maybe 2 depends on how he looks.

    • stoatva - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:36 PM

      It’s hot as hades down there.

  50. rlndtln - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    could pitch 9

  51. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:30 PM

    Time for the Nats to insert Uggla and Moore and Den Dekker.

    • stoatva - Jun 21, 2015 at 3:35 PM

      You would think, right. Harper probably has a fit if he doesn’t get his AB though.

  52. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Nice game and Gio gets a “feel good” shutout. He needed that.

  53. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    Desi with his best stop of the year. Web Gem

  54. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Gracious. Hart sure scrambled *that* egg.

  55. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 21, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    Wooooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    TM Michele Where Are You?? Come back, all is forgiven!

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