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Nationals scuttled by Pirates

May 18, 2009|By JOSEPH WHITE

By JOSEPH WHITE

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals made four errors -- all on routine plays -- and the bullpen had another lead-blowing implosion in a 12-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

A five-run sixth inning led Pittsburgh to its third straight win and ended an eight-game road losing streak.

Ross Ohlendorf (5-3) picked up the victory despite allowing four extra-base hits in a five-run fifth. Craig Monroe hit a three-run homer, and Jack Wilson got four hits for the Pirates, who opened a 10-game road trip.

Washington has lost five straight despite scoring at least five runs in every game. The Nationals entered the game with 37 errors, five more than any team in the majors.

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Shortstop Cristian Guzman botched two ordinary ground balls in the first inning, first baseman Nick Johnson missed a pickoff attempt that hit him squarely in the glove in the third, and second baseman Anderson Hernandez bounced a relay throw that should have nailed a runner coming home in the sixth. All this from a team that lost Sunday when Hernandez moved out of the way of a throw on a bunt play, leading to a two-run error that cost his team the game.

Washington's bullpen was also up to its usual antics.

Reliever No. 1, Garrett Mock (0-2), had a walk, a wild pitch, a hit batter and allowed Wilson's game-tying two-RBI double in just 15 pitches in the sixth inning. Reliever No. 2, Jesus Colome, allowed three hits in five batters as his ERA ballooned to 22.50.

At least the boos weren't loud in the mostly empty ballpark. The sparse crowd of 14,549 indicated that many in the D.C. area were unaware of the significance of the game, the first in major league history to have two starting pitchers with the first name Ross.

Nationals 2007 first-round draft pick Ross Detwiler, making his first major league start, struck out six and allowed three runs and four hits in five innings.

Guzman had two hits to raise his average to .385. The team's leadoff hitter, he drew his first walk of the season, getting a fifth-inning pass in his 122nd plate appearance.

Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back homers in the fifth for the Nationals, putting Zimmerman's streak at 36 games in which he has reached base safely. He is 10 shy of Rusty Staub's franchise record.

Wilson had a single, two doubles and a triple for the Pirates, who have scored 30 runs in their three-game winning streak. Wilson scored the game's go-ahead run on Brandon Moss' pinch-hit double in the sixth.

Notes: Because Moss only had a pinch-hit double, his streak of five straight multi-hit games ended. ... Nationals OF Austin Kearns appeared as a pinch hitter after missing three games with a hand injury, and CF Elijah Dukes sat out with a tight left hamstring.

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