Pirates top Nats, 4-2

April 26, 2011

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Clint Hurdle’s advice to Brandon Wood on his Pittsburgh Pirates debut?

“I told him, ‘Don’t put a lot of weight in making a first impression,’” the manager said before Monday’s game.

Wood ending up impressing his new teammates and fans, anyway.

Wood’s two-run double in his first game for Pittsburgh was part of a four-run fourth inning that gave the Pirates their first lead. They defeated the Washington Nationals 4-2 in front of a sparse crowd at soggy PNC Park on Monday.

“It’s nice you get the first hit and the first couple RBIs out of the way and can just go play some baseball from here,” said Wood, picked up on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.

“It’s just one game and you never know how things go,” Wood added. “I’m just going to keep the same mentality and just have fun. The guys were great. I’m fortunate to be around these guys because that was some fun coming through the dugout after that hit.”

Paul Maholm retired the final 13 batters he faced in seven strong innings as Pittsburgh made up the original series opener that was postponed by rain on Friday.

Announced paid attendance was 12,457, but only about 2,600 made it through the turnstiles on what wasn’t originally a scheduled game night. Also contributing to the poor showing was rain that caused a 21-minute delay and a Penguins playoff game at the same time.

Maholm (1-3) allowed four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in winning for the first time this season. After Adam LaRoche’s two-run single in the first inning, Maholm faced only two over the minimum the rest of the way.

Six of the 15 runs Maholm has allowed this season have come in the first inning. Monday, he came out of the fourth-inning rain delay better than Washington’s John Lannan. The Pirates entered it behind but Maholm did not allow a baserunner thereafter.

“The first inning, I missed two pitches,” Maholm said. “I just made sure they didn’t get anymore. I was mixing speeds and mixing pitches and just let the defense do some work.”

Maholm said he relaxed in the clubhouse and watched the Penguins-Lightning hockey game during the delay. Lannan (2-2) rode a stationary bike but emerged to promptly walk Steve Pearce and allow Wood’s double, erasing the Nationals’ lead.

“I was shocked ... but it doesn’t matter because you’ve got to make pitches and I didn’t,” Lannan said. “I got too many balls up in the strike zone.”

Maholm beat the Nationals for the first time in eight career starts and tied Zach Duke as PNC Park’s all-time wins leader with 31.

Evan Meek worked a perfect eighth, and Joel Hanrahan struck out pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel looking with runners on first and third and two outs in the ninth to finish his sixth save.

Making his 100th career start, Lannan allowed only one hit before a one-out walk to Jose Tabata in the fourth. With two outs and Tabata at second, Neil Walker singled to right.

On Sunday, Jayson Werth threw Andrew McCutchen out at the plate to end the game, but his throw home this time was up the third base line and got past catcher Wilson Ramos.

Lannan went 0-1 on Pearce before the rain. Wood’s double was second hard-hit ball to right-center of the game. The first was caught on the run by Werth in the second inning, but this one one-hopped the wall.

Wood, a former top prospect who hit .168 in 173 games with the Angels over five seasons, had no RBIs in 15 at-bats this season.

“He looked pretty comfortable, especially the first swing you put on the ball and drive it to right-center,” Hurdle said. “He just didn’t quite flush that one but got a good swing on it. He caught the next one right on the barrel.”

Lannan was charged with four runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. He had a five-game road winning streak snapped. The Nationals had Lannan’s past six road outings since last season.

The second-worst hitting team in the majors, Washington had only five hits one day after breaking out with a season-high 15.

“I know the players are a little frustrated with the hitting,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “I know I’m repeating myself, but we’ve got to win the ballgame anyway. We can’t only win when we hit.”

Notes: Washington had two errors to make it eight in the series after having only 12 over the first 18 games. ... SS Brian Bixler made his Nationals debut, going 0 for 3. ... Walker had two hits to give him five in his past two games. ... LaRoche has reached base in 17 of 19 games this season.

The Herald-Mail Articles