Are the Pittsburgh Pirates (22-26) turning the corner? An impressive 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals (24-25) Saturday Night has moved the Pirates within 4 games of .500, winning 5 of 6 games.
It was a battle of two former No. 1 picks in Gerrit Cole (4-3, 3.76 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (3-4, 3.42 ERA). Cole battled through six innings, throwing a career high 112 pitches, allowing 5 hits and 2 earned runs, while striking out 7 and walked 2. He received a no decision.
Strasburg was Strasburg like at times but the Pirates got to him with some excellent at bats in seventh inning.
Trailing 2-1, Jose Tabata hit a sacrifice fly to center with 1 out, scoring Russell Martin to tie the game at 2-2. The Nationals then decided to walk Travis Snider and pitch to Josh Harrison (.293 – 2 HR – 7 RBI). The decision backfired.
On the second pitch he saw from Strasburg, Harrison singled to center scoring Starling Marte, who doubled earlier in the inning, to put the Pirates ahead 3-2 after a two-run seventh inning.
Harrison’s run scoring single would be the eventual game winning run and Harrison continues to be a huge spark for the Pirates, earning the Pirates starting right field job for now.
Harrison is hitting .293/.338/.480 on the season and in May is batting .327 with an .894 OPS in 52 at-bats. One spot Harrison has surprisingly excelled for the Pirates is batting leadoff where Harrison’s hitting, .333/.388/.556 in 45 at-bats.
Also in the win, Neil Walker (.257 – 10 HR – 26 RBI) hit his team-high 10th home run of the season, a solo shot off Strasburg in the fourth inning. Walker is on pace for a career-high 34 home runs.