Catcher Rod Barajas (.142 – 1 HR – 2 RBI) has had the look of an over-the-hill aging veteran who is earning his last big paycheck with the Pirates and that will likely come true this season, but Barajas provided some unlikely heroics at the plate tonight, salvaging a Pirates blown lead and hitting a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the 9th, giving the Pirates a thrilling 5-4 walkoff win against the Washington Nationals (18-11) on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
Barajas who was 0-3 on the night at the time of his game winning at-bat, took a first pitch high and inside deep to left for his first home run of the season and RBI’s of the year.
It was a redemption win for the Pirates after closer Joel Hanrahan gave up a two-run homer to former Pirate Adam Laroche in the top of the 9th, squandering a 3-2 lead after Neil Walker broke a 2-2 with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Nate McLouth in the 8th.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (1-2, 6.08 ERA) received a no decision and had a strong outing posting his 20th 10-strikeout game in his career.
Burnett went 8 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs, while striking out 10 and walking just 1 batter. Burnett rebounded from an awful outing last Wednesday night, allowing 12 runs in just 2 2/3 innings against the Cardinals.
Tony Watson (2-0) received the win.
Pittsburgh improved to 13-16 on the season with the win.
— Joel Hanrahan’s ERA rose to 4.66 after allowing 2 earned runs in the 9th. Hanrahan has allowed 3 earned runs in his last 2 2/3 innings.
— Andrew McCutchen (.302 – 1 HR – 8 RBI) belted his first home run of the season with a solo shot in the bottom of the 4th. It was McCutchen first home run since September 13, 2011.
Pedro Alvarez (.235 – 7 HR – 15 RBI) was 0-4 with 2 strikeouts in the win and is now 0-8 with 3 strikeouts and 4 walks since being put in the cleanup spot on Saturday night. Alvarez though has had some good at-bats and missed a golden chance in his first at-bat tonight when he looked locked in and let a third strike right down the middle go by him.
— Neil Walker (.289 – 1 HR – 9 RBI) extended his hitting streak to five games and continues to hit well of late, going 1-3 with a double and RBI in the win. Walker has 14 hits in his last 10 games.