Associated Press photo
Edwin Jackson allowed two runs over seven strong innings.
Hitting highlight: How important has LaRoche been to the Nationals this season? He's meant everything to them, and his return to the lineup tonight nearly produced a come-from-behind win. The veteran first baseman, who missed four games with a sore oblique muscle, singled in the fourth, drew a walk in the sixth and then provided the biggest blow of them all: a two-run homer off Hanrahan in the ninth. He now leads the club with five homers and 19 RBI. (Prince Fielder, by the way, has four homers and 14 RBI for the Tigers.)
Pitching highlight: Edwin Jackson made only two mistakes the entire night. Unfortunately, both sailed over the fence. Give the right-hander credit, though, because he bounced back from those two fourth-inning homers to retire the last 10 Pirates he faced. The key to Jackson's outing: He issued only one walk, and because of that, he was able to keep his pitch count low (91 in seven innings). He also produced at the plate, rapping out two singles.
Key stat: With a fourth-inning two-bagger down the left-field line, Bryce Harper became only the third player in history to record six doubles in the first nine games of his big-league career. The others: the Blue Jays' Adam Lind in 2006 and the White Sox's George Washington in 1935. (No, not THAT George Washington.)
Up next: Ross Detwiler and his 1.59 ERA take the mound Wednesday night against fellow left-hander Erik Bedard and his 2.65 ERA. First pitch at PNC Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.