Not even the return of both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche could propel the Washington Nationals back into the win column last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
The Nationals have another shot Wednesday in the middle portion of this three- game series and hope to end a two-game slide in the process. Washington's Henry Rodriguez served up a game-winning two-run homer to Pirates catcher Rod Barajas in the bottom of the ninth inning to suffer the loss.
"It was an interesting ball game," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "Both closers gave it up, that's kind of rare."
LaRoche hit a two-run homer and Wilson Ramos also went deep for the Nationals, who have dropped two in a row since a four-game winning streak and are 4-7 over the past 11 games. Earlier in the day, 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.
Zimmerman and rookie phenom Bryce Harper both finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, while starting pitcher Edwin Jackson added a pair of hits. Jackson also held the Buccos to a pair of runs and three hits in seven innings.
Washington is scheduled to visit Cincinnati on this six-game trek and will hand the ball to Ross Detwiler tonight. Detwiler is 3-1 with a 1.59 earned run average in five starts and defeated Arizona his last time out in a 2-1 victory last Thursday. He allowed one run over 6 1/3 frames and scattered three hits.
Detwiler, a left-hander, faced Pittsburgh for the only time in his career in a 12-7 loss on May 18, 2009, when he gave up three runs -- two earned -- and four hits in five innings for the no-decision.
The Pirates have alternated wins and losses over their previous six games, and improved to 2-2 on a nine-game homestand with last night's dramatic. Barajas provided the fireworks with his two-run blast, while Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones added home runs as well.
"After seeing two breaking balls in the dirt I kind of figured...he was gonna come hard and I consider myself a fastball hitter," Barajas said of facing Rodriguez in the ninth inning. "I wasn't gonna let one go by if it was somewhere where I liked it."
Tony Watson 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 eight innings in the start. He struck out 10 and walked one.
Pittsburgh, which will also host Houston in the Steel City, is hoping Erik Bedard can keep the momentum going when he toes the rubber Wednesday. Bedard has won back-to-back starts since losing his first four of the season and pitched five innings of two-run ball in last Thursday's 6-3 win at St. Louis. He fanned a season-high 11 batters and issued two walks to improve to 2-4 with a 2.65 ERA in six starts.
The left-handed Bedard will make his fourth career start against Washington and is 0-1 with a 1.42 ERA over the first three.
Pittsburgh and Washington split eight meetings a year ago.