Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Charity Proves to Be Costly Hit Batter, Double Steal, Sacrifice Fly Add Up to Final Mistake on a Day Full of Them

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Charity Proves to Be Costly Hit Batter, Double Steal, Sacrifice Fly Add Up to Final Mistake on a Day Full of Them

Article excerpt

Ryan Zimmerman was used to reaching base by the time the ninth inning arrived.

A triple and two walks had put the Washington Nationals third baseman on base in his three previous plate appearances. He would reach again in the ninth, the last of many Nationals to take a base due to a Pirates mistake, and score, sendingWashington to a 5-4 win Saturday afternoon at PNC Park.

The Pirates greased the wheels for 11 Nationals batters to reach base -- six walks, three hit batsmen and two errors. The Nationals won despite stranding 11 runners and going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

"Every once in a while. you have a game when you're not in sync," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The walks and the hit batsmen today, all those free 90s added up."

Tony Watson hit Zimmerman in the ninth with the score tied, 4-4. Zimmerman took second on Adam LaRoche's single.

Then Nationals manager Davey Johnson called for Zimmerman, on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring until Friday, and LaRoche to attempt a double steal. They reached second and third without a throw. Tyler Moore, who struck out with the bases loaded to end the seventh, scored the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.

"We know who has what times [to the plate], what guys are slow and what guys are fast and what guys give a guy like me an actual chance to steal a base," Zimmerman said. "Third is easier to steal than second for a lot of us, especially a guy who doesn't steal a lot of bases, because they won't look you back a lot of times. When you're looking at a pitcher that takes 1.8-2.0 seconds to get the ball to the plate, I should be able to steal off him."

Zimmerman and LaRoche, the Nationals' No. 4 and 5 hitters, reached base a combined eight times: five walks, two hits and a hit- by-pitch.

Watson (1-1) took the loss, allowing one run on two hits and two hit batters in 12/3 innings.

Hurdle said he preferred not to use closer Jason Grilli in the ninth of a tie game at home to limit Grilli's appearances, and Hurdle wants to limit setup man Mark Melancon's usage to the eighth with a lead for the same reason. …

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