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Pirates Post-Game Buzz: McCutchen homers twice, McDonald strikes out 11 in 5-3 win
PITTSBURGH 5 – WASHINGTON 3
Win: James. McDonald (3-2)
Loss: Jordan Zimmermann (2-4)
Save: J. Hanrahan (8)
Andrew McCutchen homered twice and James McDonald (3-2, 2.68 ERA) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and struck out a career-high 11, as the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-20) beat the Washington Nationals (23-15) 5-3 on Thursday night.
McDonald retired his first 13 batters, striking out nine during that span and was helped by two spectacular plays on defense, one from Casey McGehee at first base and McCutchen in center field.
McDonald threw 60 strikes on 86 pitches, including 14 first pitch strikes, facing 22 batters. McDonald ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth inning with the Pirates up 4-0 as McDonald allowed consecutive doubles to Jesus Flores and Steve Lombardozzi to start the inning. Ryan Zimmerman then drove in both runners on a single and Adam LaRoche hit a triple, scoring Zimmerman for a three-run sixth inning for the Nationals.
McDonald (3-2) was pulled after 5 2/3 innings and he gave up three runs and four hits with one walk. The Pirates bullpen was strong as Tony Watson retired the final batter of the sixth, while Juan Cruz pitched a scoreless seventh, and Jason Grilli worked the eighth and Joel Hanrahan the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.
— Andrew McCutchen (.349 – 5 HR – 16 RBI) hit a two-out shot into the right-field bullpen in the first and led off the sixth with his second homer of the game. He has five this season and continued his torrid hitting against the Nationals. He’s batting .442 with 10 home runs in 23 games against Washington.
— Rod Barajas (.214 – 3 HR – 5 RBI) added a two-run homer in the fourth, his third of the season. Barajas had three hits, going 3-4 with HR, 2 RBI’s.
— Josh Harrison (.256 – 1 HR – 8 RBI) got his second straight start at shortstop and has a hot bat, going 2-3 with a double and run scored in the win. Harrison is 4-7 with HR, 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored in his last two games. He has 4 RBI’s in his last three games.