Nationals Too Much for Pirates
Musgrove strikes out nine in loss
PITTSBURGH — Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer, Daniel Murphy doubled twice and had four hits, and the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Rendon hit his 13th homer off starter Joe Musgrove (3-4) in the fifth inning, and Washington added three more runs in the sixth against the bullpen.
Jeremy Hellickson pitched five strong innings, and the bullpen closed it out from there. Hellickson (3-1) allowed two hits and struck out three, leaving after 67 pitches.
Bryce Harper went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts for Washington. His batting average fell to .215.
Musgrove recorded a career-high nine strikeouts, but a 27-pitch first inning elevated his pitch count early and he departed after two runs and five hits over five innings.
In the sixth inning, Pirates reliever Steven Brault walked in two runs, and Adam Eaton hit an RBI single to add to the lead.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but Kelvin Herrera struck out Francisco Cervelli to end it.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) made his first rehab start with Class A Potomac. He pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed two hits, one run and one walk while striking out five.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (concussion) was given the day off. He made back-to-back starts after coming off the disabled list Sunday.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.76 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale. He is 0-3 over his last six starts but is 4-1 in his career against Pittsburgh.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (6-7, 4.60 ERA) is coming off his shortest outing of the season, when he allowed five runs over 2 1/3 innings against Philadelphia on July 6.