Charlie Morton threw more fastballs today against the Washington Nationals than he did in his previous start. He fired plenty of first-pitch strikes, too.
Yet, the results were the same.
Morton failed to make it out of the fourth inning and the Nationals ripped the Pirates, 8-1.
Morton (1-11) worked 3 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on eight hits. The right-hander walked two and struck out one.
On Aug. 29, Morton made his first start back with the Pirates after spending three months in the minors. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in a blowout loss against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Against the Brewers, Morton often shook off catcher Ryan Doumit and later admitted being too timid with his fastball.
Yesterday, working with catcher Chris Snyder, Morton threw 58 fastballs out of his 76 pitches. He also worked ahead in the count a lot, throwing first-pitch strikes to 12 of the 21 batters he faced.
Four of Washington's six runs off Morton were unearned, the result of a throwing error by Morton and a fielding error by first baseman Garrett Jones.
Morton has been tagged with 12 unearned runs in 12 starts for the Pirates. With Triple-A Indianapolis, he allowed 12 unearned runs in 14 starts.
Nyjer Morgan scored the Nationals' first run in the first inning, but he also cost them a run in the second.
Morgan singled, then went to second when Morton's pickoff attempt got away from Jones. …