Pirates ride Volquez, bullpen past Nationals 3-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm •  Published: May 22, 2014
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Solid starting pitching. A couple of defensive gems. Just enough hitting to make a difference.

For a night, the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates managed to recapture a little bit of their 2013 magic. Do it a few more times and maybe their miserable start to 2014 will become a memory.

Edinson Volquez allowed one run in six sharp innings, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison made a splash both at the plate and in the field, and the Pirates edged the Washington Nationals 3-1 Thursday night.

Volquez (2-4) ended a three-game losing streak by limiting the Nationals to three hits, walking two and striking out four. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his eighth save.

McCutchen drove in two runs for the Pirates and made a sliding grab with two on in the ninth to end the game. Josh Harrison added two hits for Pittsburgh and added a run-saving catch of his own for the Pirates.

"That's what we're known for, just playing routine baseball, not doing anything too out of the ordinary," McCutchen said. "(Just) getting in scoring position, getting some runs home and having pitching shut it down for us."

Ian Desmond hit his eighth homer of the season for the Nationals, but Washington left 10 runners on base. Rookie Blake Treinen (0-2) struggled with his command in his second career start, giving up two runs on four hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking five. The Nationals have lost three of four.

"Our approach was fine," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "They made some really nice plays. That happens. It's big league baseball. They get paid to do that."

Volquez had been a pleasant surprise during the season's first month, but scuffled through his previous four starts, going 0-3 with a 10.19 ERA as part of a slide that had the Pirates well off the pace in the NL Central a year after making the franchise's first postseason appearance in more than two decades.

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle wondered if Volquez — who led the National League in walks per nine innings last season — was suddenly throwing too many strikes.

The former All-Star did a better job mixing location and speed against Washington's patchwork lineup. His only real miscue came on a 2-0 fastball in the fourth that Desmond sent into the seats in center field that briefly tied the game at 1.

It was the 10th home run Volquez has surrendered this season, but he responded by retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced.



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