Bucs Rally to Beat Nationals
PITTSBURGH – Charlie Morton worked into the sixth inning to snap a lengthy losing streak and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night.
Morton (1-6) allowed one run on five hits in 5 2-3 workmanlike innings for his first victory since last September. Pedro Alvarez hit his ninth home run of the season after being dropped from fourth to sixth in the lineup. Ike Davis, who replaced Alvarez as the cleanup hitter, went 2 for 4 with two runs scored.
Jason Grilli picked up his first save since April 14 in his return from the disabled list.
The Pirates have won three straight and four of five.
Jordan Zimmerman (3-2) labored through six innings to lose for the first time in over a month. Denard Span had two of Washington’s eight hits. The Nationals left 11 runners on base while losing their third straight.
Morton has pitched well at times this season and began the night with the lowest ERA among Pittsburgh starters (3.45) but had not been rewarded with a victory. He wasn’t dominant while walking four batters and hitting another but managed to keep Washington’s struggling offense in check and the bullpen made it stand up. Barely.
The injury-ravaged Nationals – minus hobbled stars Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper among others – threw out a lineup that included four players hitting .192 or worse. Getting opportunities wasn’t an issue. Taking advantage of them was another matter entirely. Washington stranded at least one runner in every inning.
The Pirates weren’t quite as busy on the basepaths but managed to be a little more efficient getting runners home. Manager Clint Hurdle tinkered with the batting order hoping to get a little more production out of the meat of the lineup and it paid immediate dividends.
Hurdle moved Davis – hitting .328 this month – from fifth to fourth and dropped Alvarez to sixth after a prolonged slump.
Davis singled leading off the second and fourth and came home both times, scoring on a fielder’s choice by Starling Marte in the second and trotting home after Alvarez sent a Zimmerman fastball into the bushes in center field for his first homer since May 5 to make it 4-0.
The Nationals crept back in it slowly. Jayson Werth scored on a sacrifice fly by Greg Dobbs in the sixth. Washington drew within one in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Scott Hairston and a wild pitch by Pittsburgh reliever Bryan Morris.
Grilli, facing live batters for the first time since April 20, worked around a leadoff walk to Anthony Rendon to give the Pirates their major league-leading 13th one-run victory. Josh Harrison ended the game with a leaping catch at the wall in right field to rob Ian Desmond of extra bases.
Cardinals 6, Reds 3
CINCINNATI (AP) – Left-hander Jaime Garcia got his first victory in more than a year on Saturday night, another step in his comeback from shoulder surgery, and Yadier Molina homered again in the city where he’s always booed, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals evened their series at a game apiece. St. Louis has won nine of the last 10 series between the NL Central rivals.
Garcia (1-0) gave up six hits and a pair of runs in 5 2-3 innings, fanning seven and retiring 12 batters in a row over one span.
Ryan Ludwick homered in the ninth off Jason Motte. Trevor Rosenthal came on with two outs and fanned Todd Frazier with two runners aboard for his 15th save in 17 chances.
Molina hit a solo shot off left-hander Tony Cingrani (2-4).
Rockies 3, Braves 1
ATLANTA (AP) – Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki each homered, Juan Nicasio solved the Braves and the Colorado Rockies beat Atlanta 3-1 on Saturday.
The Rockies were missing some of their big bats as Carlos Gonzalez missed his third straight start with a swollen finger and Nolan Arenado was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken finger.
Nicasio (5-2) didn’t need much offense. The right-hander turned around his ugly history against the Braves – 0-3 and 9.82 ERA in four starts. He gave up only two hits in six shutout innings. Nicasio pitched around four walks and had five strikeouts.
Phillies 5, Dodgers 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – David Buchanan threw five effective innings in his major league debut and Chase Utley hit a two-run homer to power Philadelphia.
Filling in for injured ace Cliff Lee, Buchanan (1-0) gave the struggling Phillies a lift. The 25-year-old righty allowed two runs and five hits, striking out two.
Ben Revere went 4 for 4 in his first game leading off since May 14 and Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs to help the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak.
Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 13th save in 14 tries.
Dodgers starter Dan Haren (5-3) gave up five runs – two earned – and six hits, striking out seven in six innings.
Marlins 2, Brewers 1
MIAMI (AP) – Jacob Turner pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings to help Miami win for the third time in four games.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Baker drove in the runs for the Marlins, and Steve Cishek recorded the final four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.
It was the best outing of the season for Turner (1-2), who struck out two and walked one while allowing eight hits. It was only the second time in six starts that he has not allowed at least four runs.
Brewers starter Wily Peralta (4-4) allowed one run and six hits in six innings.
Diamondbacks 3, Mets 2
NEW YORK (AP) – Josh Collmenter provided another solid start, Martin Prado hit a pair of RBI singles and Arizona ended a three-game skid.
A day after Aaron Hill had a home run washed out when the game at Citi Field was postponed because of rain, he cracked a key hit that counted. His second-inning double set up run-scoring singles by Prado and Cody Ross that put Arizona ahead to stay.
David Wright homered, doubled and singled for the Mets.