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Fresh off a complete game win against the Brewers, the Washington Nationals rallied off right-hander Kevin Correia for a four run 3rd to beat the Bucs, 6-3 at PNC Park on Easter Sunday.
Andrew McCutchen leadoff the 1st with a double (his forth of the season) off the right field wall. McCutchen advanced to third on a ground out by Jose Tabata and scored on a RBI single by Neil Walker to left to take a 1-0 lead.
Correia threw a 1-2-3 1st inning. After allowing back-to-back singles in the 2nd, with one out he escaped out of the jam by getting two ground outs.
Unfortunately for Correia, he was unable to escape the 3rd inning cleanly. Back-to-back singles by Jason Marquis and Danny Espinosa with a six pitch walk to Rick Ankiel loaded the bases with no outs.
Jayson Werth grounded to Pedro Alvarez at third base, who threw home to get the force out. Adam LaRoche grounded to first base, scoring Espinosa and trying the game at 1.
It didn’t stay tied for long, as Michael Morse took a fastball into the left field seats for a three-run homer, giving the Nats a 4-1 lead.
Correia told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, It was just one of those that got away at the wrong time. I was trying to throw a fastball in and it didn’t move like I wanted it to. That guy is dangerous, and I know that. You can’t miss over the plate. It just wasn’t what I was expecting out of the pitch.”
Correia allowed another hit before getting Jerry Hariston (the eighth man to come to the plate) to ground out and end the inning.
Garrett Jones drew a leadoff walk and Pedro Alvarez doubled in the 4th. Chris Snyder hit a sac fly and Ronny Cedeno singled. The two runs brought the Bucs within one run.
Former Bucco Adam LaRoche homered off Coreia in 5th to give the Nationals a 5-3 advantage.
Correia was charged with five runs on 11 hits with one walk and two strikeouts over 4.2 innings (84 pitches).
The score remained the same until the 8th when the Nationals tacked on another run, a RBI double by Laynce Nix.
McCutchen told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “We felt like we were in the game the whole time today. We just weren’t able to get those few extra runs.”
The Pirates drop to 9-12 on the season. They will face the Nationals on Monday for the rubber match of the series.
Since Pedro Alvarez took over third base, there hasn’t been many Andy LaRoche sightings. Used primarily as a pinch-hitter LaRoche’s average continues to sit around the Mendoza line.
LaRoche is batting .204. He has just one hit in his last 26 at-bats, 11 in his past 92.
Adam LaRoche (Andy’s older brother and ex-Pirate) said the reason for his struggles is his lack of playing time. –Andy has started just three times since July 4th.
“I can’t relate to what’s happening to Andy in the sense that he’s getting three or four at-bats a week,” Adam LaRoche said Sunday. “I don’t know the answer. I’ve told him to hang in there. What can you do? Hopefully, sooner than later, get a change of scenery and kind of have a fresh start.”
Andy has decided to pay winter ball in Venezuela to get some more at-bats. He is eligible for arbitration and considering his lack of playing time, I would highly doubt the Pirates would tender him.
“He needs that for himself,” Adam LaRoche said. “He needs to go prove to himself that he can still play this game and that other teams can still benefit from having him.”
General Manager Neal Huntington addressed LaRoche’s lack of playing time.
“Obviously, when we traded for Andy, we expected more,” Huntington said. “It’s tough to go from playing regularly to a bench role, and it can take time to get used to it. Some never get used to it. We’ve talked a lot about quantity of quality. We need to have a number of good prospects at every position. Andy LaRoche has a good chance to bounce back. You see guys like this in the All-Star Game every year. But, to this point, Andy is one example of why you can’t count on just that one prospect. They don’t always make it.”