Clint Hurdle was confident he has made the right move, even though it
didn’t work out.
With out and first base open in the eighth inning of a one-run game, the Pittsburgh Pirates manager decided to intentionally walk the Washington Nationals left-handed-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche in order to have rookie right-handed reliever Bryan Morris face right-handed hitting Tyler Moore.
It made sense from a statistical standpoint. LaRoche had been 4 for 7 with four walks to that point in the three-game series while Moore had struck out six times and had a .158 batting average.
The move backfired, though, as Moore hit a three-run homer off rookie reliever Morris to seal the Washington Nationals’ 6-2 victory over the Pirates on Sunday.
“LaRoche had been on base all weekend and seeing the ball well,” Hurdle said. “We decided to go right-on-right there with Morris against Moore, and it didn’t work out.”
Danny Espinosa homered and drove in three runs and Gio Gonzalez (3-2) won for just the third time in seven starts after winning 21 games last season.
Moore homered for the first time this year after hitting 10 in 75 games last season as a rookie. He also hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly Saturday in the ninth inning as the Nationals edged the Pirates 5-4.
Gonzalez allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out five. He had been tagged for 18 runs and 21 hits in his previous four starts, going 1-2 in that span.
Starling Marte hit a leadoff homer in the first, his fourth in five games for Pittsburgh. The Pirates then loaded the bases with none out but Gonzalez escaped the jam by striking out Russell Martin and Michael McKenry and getting Brandon Inge to ground out.
“It felt awful to come out of the first inning with only one run,” McKenry said. “I know Russ wanted to get a big hit. I know I wanted to get a big hit. It’s not how we drew it up ourselves. Gio is a great pitcher but I’m not going to give him any more credit than he deserves because I got myself out.”
Espinosa’s two-run homer in the fourth put Washington ahead for good at 3-1. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the second as the Nationals won for the fourth time in five games and sent the Pirates to third loss in four games.
Rodriguez (2-2) gave up three runs and six hits, striking out seven and walking one in six innings. However, the left-hander needed to throw 117 pitches to get his 18 outs.
The Pirates pulled within 3-2 in the sixth when Martin hit an RBI double.
“I had to work very hard,” Rodriguez said. “There were a lot of pitches close to home plate and the umpire didn’t help me out. They also hit a lot of foul balls. It seemed like it was foul, foul, foul, strikeout.”
Nationals star Bryce Harper was ejected in the first inning for disputing a checked-swing third strike. He tried to hold up on a 2-2 pitch from Wandy Rodriguez and home plate umpire Bob Davidson pointed to third base ump John Hirschbeck for help. Hirschbeck ruled that Harper had swung.
Wilson Ramos had three hits for the Nationals. Roger Bernandina, who took over for Harper after the ejection, had two hits after entering the game with only one hit all season in 25 at-bats.
Notes: Tests conducted on Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton’s right arm revealed no structural damage. Morton, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed last June, left his rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday after three innings with discomfort in his shoulder. He will start playing catch today and is tentatively scheduled to throw off a mound during the four-game series against the Mets in New York that begins Thursday. ... The Pirates, like the Nationals, are off today, then open a two-game home series with Seattle on Tuesday night. James McDonald (2-2, 5.76) is scheduled to start for the Pirates against Aaron Harang (1-3, 8.68).
Clint Hurdle was confident he has made the right move, even though it
Keisel returning to action for Sunday’s game
Brett Keisel is in his 12th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the 35-year-old defensive end realizes it might also be his last.
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Penn State seeking sixth NCAA volleyball title
Whatever the result in the final, it has already been a special postseason run for 12th-seeded Wisconsin.
The Badgers are the lowest seed to make the NCAA volleyball championship match after upsetting No. 1 defending national champion Texas in the semifinals. Wisconsin (28-9) is proving that even a team without overwhelming size up front can still have success in the NCAAs.
Veteran Westmont hockey coach records his 500th career victory
Most coaches would shy away from discussing impending milestones. Not Westmont Hilltop hockey coach Art McQuillan.
While the Hilltoppers’ bench boss was not looking forward to his 500th win for personal reasons, when Friday’s 5-0 win over the South Park Eagles sealed the milestone at Ice Castle Arena, McQuillan was as pleased for the program as his assistants, players and well-wishers of the team were for him.
Two from Somerset earn all-state honors
Defensive lineman Bryce Mostoller and linebacker Logan Eller each played a large part in the resurgence of Somerset football over the last two seasons.
Their efforts during the 2013 season – the junior campaigns for both – landed the pair on the Pennsylvania Football Writers’ Class AAA All-State Team, which was released on Thursday.
No players from The Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area were selected to the Class A squad, also released on Thursday.
Northern Cambria volleyball coach inducted into hall of fame
With 400-plus wins, two PIAA Class A girls volleyball championships and nine District 6 crowns amassed, Mike Hogan can add another accolade to his ongoing coaching legacy at Northern Cambria: Hall of famer.
Hogan, the girls and boys coach at Northern Cambria, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame earlier in the month, allowing the veteran coach to join a number of players and coaches who influenced his own path through the sport.
Steelers Brown closing in on records
The memory has never really gone away. It’s still in the back of Antonio Brown’s mind, gnawing at him during the long workouts, the ones he doesn’t talk about and his teammates only mention in somewhat reverent tones.
Six rounds. Nearly 200 players. How was it possible for 194 other players to be taken ahead of him in the 2010 NFL Draft? Even now, in the midst of the breakout season he always believed would come, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver doesn’t want to think about it.
Prestigious awards focus attention on Pitt’s Donald
With all media attention he’s received this season, one might believe that Pittsburgh senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald craves his private time.
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Penguins beat Wild for sixth straight win
Chris Kunitz scored his 19th goal, Sidney Crosby had two assists and the Pittsburgh Penguins jumped out to a four-goal lead before beating the Minnesota Wild 5-2 Thursday night for their season-high sixth straight victory.
Rookie defenseman Olli Maatta sealed the Penguins’ win when he scored on a third-period penalty shot. Pascal Dupuis and Brandon Sutter each scored for the second consecutive game, and defenseman Matt Niskanen also tallied for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of 12 overall and a nine straight home game.
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