Pittsburgh, PA – Rod Barajas hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday and the Pirates defeated the Nationals, 5-4, in the opener of a three-game series.
Adam LaRoche gave Washington a 4-3 lead in the top of the inning with a two- run blast, but Alex Presley singled in the bottom half and Barajas followed with a two-out shot down the left-field line off of Henry Rodriguez (1-2).
"After seeing two breaking balls in the dirt I kind of figured...he was gonna come hard and I consider myself a fastball hitter," said Barajas. "I wasn't gonna let one go by if it was somewhere where I liked it."
Tony Watson (2-0) recorded the final out in the top of the ninth to earn the win and A.J. Burnett allowed two runs on six hits over and eight-inning start. He struck out 10 and walked one.
Andrew McCutchen hit his first home run of the season and Garrett Jones homered in the same inning for Pittsburgh, which improved to 13-16.
Wilson Ramos hit a home run and Rick Ankiel added and RBI single for Washington, which was coming off a 4-2 homestand and had just taken two of three games from the Phillies.
Edwin Jackson allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings and did not factor in the decision.
Ramos led off the third inning with a blast to center and Bryce Harper began the fourth with a double. He advanced third base on LaRoche's base hit and scored on Ankiel's single through the right side for a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates tied it in the home half, getting a leadoff shot to center from McCutchen and a two-out homer to right from Jones, then went ahead briefly in the eighth.
Nate McLouth scored the go-ahead run. He drew a one-out walk, moved to third when Washington shortstop Ian Desmond misplayed Jose Tabata's grounder up the middle and crossed the plate on Neil Walker's deep fly to right.
But LaRoche responded in the ninth, following Ryan Zimmerman's leadoff single with a homer to deep center off of Joel Hanrahan.
"It was an interesting ball game," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "Both closers gave it up, that's kind of rare."
The Pirates improved to 9-1 on the season when scoring at least four runs...With the two home runs, the Nationals (2005-present) reached the 1000- homer plateau as a franchise...Jackson entered the game with a 4-0 career mark in five starts against the Pirates...Earlier Tuesday, Washington placed right fielder Jayson Werth on the 15-day disabled list and activated Zimmerman off the DL. Werth underwent surgery on Monday to repair a broken left wrist. He suffered the injury during Sunday's 9-3 loss to the Phillies.