|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Morton is making just his seventh start this season, his sixth year in the major leagues. He has faced the Nats three times in his career, going 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA across 15 1/3 innings pitched. However the Nats respond to the hitting coach change, they will likely need a good deal of runs anyway. Dan Haren (4-10, 5.61) is making the start as he continues to try and turn his season around.
To be fair, Haren is coming off two consecutive solid outings. He allowed two earned runs in five innings at Philly on July 8 and pitched six scoreless frames in Miami on July 13, but both games were losses for the Nats as the offense scored a combined three runs in the two games. The Pirates have scored the least runs of any team in the month of July (47), so perhaps tonight presents an opportunity for Haren.
Updates to come...
PITTSBURGH PIRATES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 186
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 89 degrees, Wind 5 mph RF to LF
LF Bryce Harper
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
CF Denard Span
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Dan Haren
LF Starling Marte
2B Jordy Mercer
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Pedro Alvarez
C Russell Martin
RF Garrett Jones
1B Gaby Sanchez
SS Clint Barmes
RHP Charlie Morton
HP Laz Diaz
1B Tim Timmons
2B Mike Estabrook
3B Mike Winters (cc)
7:06 p.m. — And we are underway with a ball from Dan Haren to Starling Marte.
7:16 p.m. — Guess it's time to update Andrew McCutchen's career numbers against the Nats. He just sluged a two-run homer to right-center off Haren, who had walked Jordy Mercer moments earlier. So, here you go: In 26-plus career games against the Nats, McCutchen is now hitting .439 with 12 homers, 24 RBI, a .504 on-base percentage, .908 slugging percentage and 1.412 OPS. Nats down 2-0 in the middle of the first.
7:25 p.m. — Well, Bryce Harper did his job as a leadoff man. He drew a walk off Charlie Morton to get things started. And was immediately erased on a fielder's choice by Anthony Rendon, who was then erased on Ryan Zimmerman's 6-4-3 double play. 2-0 Pirates after one.
7:37 p.m. — Morton is making quick work of the Nats so far. He's recorded five straight outs since the Harper leadoff walk, getting four groundballs and a strikeout. Looks like his sinker is working tonight. Still 2-0 after two.
7:49 p.m. — Andrew McCutchen, ladies and gentlemen. 2-for-2, two 2-run homers. So, his up-to-the-second career numbers in 26-plus games against the Nats: .444 AVG, 13 HR, 26 RBI, .509 OBP, .939 SLG, 1.448 OPS. He has the Pirates' only two hits tonight in three innings, but he's given his team a 4-0 lead.
7:54 p.m. — Three innings in the books, and the Nats have yet to get a ball out of the infield against Morton. Eight of the nine outs have come on groundballs, the other a strikeout.
8:04 p.m. — Make it 5-0 Bucs after Russell Martin led off the fourth with a single and Garrett Jones followed with a double to the right-field corner. Not much else to say at this point.
8:20 p.m. — Stop the presses: Haren struck out McCutchen! Pretty remarkable development, if you ask me. Still 5-0 in the middle of the fifth.
8:31 p.m. — Wow, not only did Adam LaRoche hit the ball out of the infield to lead off the bottom of the fifth, he actually hit it out of the park. There goes Morton's no-hitter and shutout on LaRoche's 14th homer of the season. But the Nats squandered a chance to do more damage when Roger Bernadina (pinch-hitting for Haren) struck out with two on and two out. So Haren's final line is: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP, 2 HR. That's pretty much his season in a nutshell. It's 5-1 Pirates after five, with Craig Stammen entering.
9:23 p.m. — The Nats are trying to make this a game again. After two scoreless innings from Stammen, LaRoche and Werth combined to make it a 5-3 game in the seventh. LaRoche was awarded first base after getting struck by a pitch from Morton. Werth then blasted his 13th homer of the season, a two-run shot into the Red Porch. That's Werth's third homer in his last seven at-bats.
9:41 p.m. — And the Pirates get a big insurance run in the top of the eighth. Ian Krol, in a rare poor outing, gave up a single and a walk. Drew Storen nearly got out of the jam, but he uncorked a wild pitch, and even after Ramos retrieved the ball and got it back to him in time, Storen couldn't hang on to make the tag. So it's 6-3 Pirates as the Nats are down to their last six outs.
9:53 p.m. — Now they're down to their last three outs. Though Rendon singled to center to snap an 0-for-15 slump, Zimmerman grounded into his second 6-4-3 double play of the night to end the eighth. It remains 6-3 and most of the 29,200 fans who remain here are wearing black and gold.
10:07 p.m. — Whoa, Werth goes deep for the fourth time in two days, a two-run blast to right that trims the lead to 6-5. That Storen wild pitch really looms large now. It's 6-5 in the 9th.
10:19 p.m. — Oh yikes, with two outs and an 0-1 count on Steve Lombardozzi, Jason Grilli is in serious pain. He's out of the game and reacted like he felt something serious happen to his elbow or shoulder. Vin Mazzaro is now in to finish the at-bat, with the game on the line.
10:20 p.m. — And Mazzaro gets Lombardozzi to ground out to second to end the game. The Nats lose 6-5, their fourth straight and ninth in 11 games. They're three games under .500 for the first time since 2011.