Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to get back over .500 tonight at PNC Park.
Opposing Lannan tonight is Paul Maholm, who incredibly has made more starts (157) than any other left-hander in the National League since 2006. Yes, Paul Maholm. Go figure.
A couple of twists to the Nats' lineup tonight. Rick Ankiel gets his first day off of the season, so Jerry Hairston is starting in center field. Ian Desmond gets bumped up to the No. 2 spot behind Danny Espinosa. Brian Bixler makes his first appearance, starting at third base.
Plenty of updates live from the ballpark to come...
NATIONALS at PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Chance of storms, 74 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS7:11 p.m. -- We're underway here, and though it's raining, the Nats wasted no time pouncing on Paul Maholm. Ian Desmond singled to center, then took third when Jayson Werth launched a double off the right-field wall. Moments later, Adam LaRoche singled up the middle to score both runners and give the Nats an early 2-0 lead.
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
C Wilson Ramos
CF Jerry Hairston
3B Brian Bixler
P John Lannan
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Jose Tabata
RF Matt Diaz
2B Neil Walker
1B Steve Pearce
3B Brandon Wood
C Chris Snyder
SS Ronny Cedeno
P Paul Maholm
7:20 p.m. -- If you haven't seen the other pregame posts on the homepage, be sure to check out an update on Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Stairs' frank assessment of his 0-for-11 start to the season.
7:23 p.m. -- Really nice 6-4-3 from Desmond, Espinosa and LaRoche in the bottom of the first, retiring both McCutchen and Tabata. Lannan then took a comebacker from Diaz to end the inning with the Nats still up 2-0.
7:35 p.m. -- You know, the Pirates didn't want to schedule this makeup game for this afternoon because they didn't think they would draw well on a Monday afternoon. Well, there's like 500 people here tonight (perhaps because of the combination of the Penguins playing, the bad weather and the Nats being in town). So what might they have drawn this afternoon? Frightening thought.
7:43 p.m. -- Nice start to the evening by Werth, who entered with a .200 average and an ugly 0-for-5 showing yesterday. Well, he's 2-for-2 so far tonight with that first-inning double off the right-field wall and a third-inning single to right. The fact he's going to the opposite field is a good sign he's getting back on track. On the other hand, so much for Morse's resurgence. After his 3-for-4 showing yesterday, he's 0-for-2 with a couple of strikeouts tonight. Still 2-0 as we head to the bottom of the third, and it's raining pretty hard now.
7:55 p.m. -- Solid work from Lannan through three innings. He's faced the minimum, allowing only McCutchen's leadoff single in the first (and McCutchen was immediately erased on a double play). Lannan got an assist in the third from Morse, who snagged Chris Snyder's drive to the left-field fence just as he slammed his back into the wall. Morse fell in a heap and was down on the ground for a second, but he popped up pretty quickly and appears to be fine.
8:12 p.m. -- The Pirates are on the board because of an error that was charged to Werth (he threw wide of the plate trying to gun down Tabata, who had held up at third, by the way). Really, though, Ramos needs to do a better job blocking that ball and not letting it get past him. The catcher isn't charged with the error, but he was complicit in allowing the Pirates to trim the lead to 2-1. Meanwhile, the rain has really started coming down here, and the umps finally called for the tarp. So we're in a delay. Again. Shouldn't last long, but you can't help but think how nice it would have been to play this game earlier this afternoon, when it was gorgeous outside!
8:33 p.m. -- Well that didn't take long. We're back, with Lannan facing Pearce, an 0-1 count, two outs and Walker on third.
8:37 p.m. -- Wow, there goes the lead, and more. Lannan came out of the delay and walked Pearce, then allowed a two-run double to Wood, then allowed an RBI single to Snyder. He's not the type to make excuses, but I wonder if he'll mention this delay as having thrown him out of whack. Pirates lead 4-2 all of a sudden.
8:51 p.m. -- Lannan came back out for the fifth perhaps a bit fired up about how things went the previous inning. He just struck out both Maholm and McCutchen looking, then got Tabata to ground out to short. Important bounce-back inning there for the lefty. Pirates still lead 4-2 after five.
9:08 p.m. -- Terrible call by first base ump Alan Porter just now. Ramos had Walker picked off, and LaRoche clearly tagged him on the leg. Somehow, Porter missed it, prolonging the bottom of the sixth. Sure enough, Desmond bobbled Wood's grounder to short for his seventh error of the season, and now Riggleman has pulled Lannan in favor of Todd Coffey, who sprinted about 360 feet in from the bullpen in center field.
9:15 p.m. -- The sprint worked. Coffey strikes out Snyder to end the sixth. Still 4-2.
9:21 p.m. -- Rough debut for Brian Bixler. He's now 0-for-3 with two groundouts (one a double play) and a strikeout.
9:27 p.m. -- I don't want to put too much stock into the effect a 21-minute rain delay can have, but it's been an entirely different game since then. The Nats haven't put a man on base since the delay, with Maholm retiring 13 in a row before he was just pulled for a pinch-hitter. The Pirates, meanwhile, scored three runs right after the resumption, and have threatened a couple more times since.
9:32 p.m. -- 12,457 people paid to attend tonight's game. Only 1,000 or so actually attended.
9:44 p.m. -- That's 16 Nationals batters in a row retired by the Pirates' pitching staff. Nats down to their final three outs, trailing 4-2, and they're likely going to be facing old friend Joel Hanrahan in the ninth.
9:53 p.m. -- It is indeed Hanrahan on for the ninth. They've got quite the intro video for Joel here.
10:03 p.m. -- Well, Hanrahan made it interesting. He walked Werth to lead the inning off, then after striking out Morse looking at a slider, gave up a two-out single to Ramos. But he battled back to strike out Rick Ankiel (pinch-hitting for Hairston) looking at a fastball. Nats lose 4-2. Lannan (2-2) gets charged with the loss. His teammates, though, had only one hit and two baserunners after the third inning.