Pittsburgh, PA – Tyler Moore's tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning helped send the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle test of a three-game set at PNC Park.
Wilson Ramos contributed a two-run single and both Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond also had sac flies for Washington, which had lost four of six coming in.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg surrendered a two-run homers to Starling Marte and Clint Barmes, but got through his final two innings of work unscathed. He matched a season-high with seven innings pitched and struck out eight while scattering five hits.
"That's the biggest thing, give your team a chance to win the ball game," said Strasburg. "Not every game is going to be lights out, hitting every spot. I made a couple of mistakes and they put good swings on it. That's what they get paid to do."
Tyler Clippard (2-1) and Rafael Soriano each pitched a scoreless inning of relief, with Soriano notching his 10th save in the victory.
Ryan Zimmerman was the fifth batter to be hit by a pitch when Tony Watson (1-1) plunked him with one out in the ninth. LaRoche then followed with a single and double steal put runners on second and third for Moore.
Moore had struck out his previous two at-bats, but was able to lift Watson's offering into right field and get Zimmerman home from third for the go-ahead run.
Pittsburgh's Russell Martin lined one into the gap to begin the bottom half of the ninth, but his attempt to stretch his single into a double fell way short, as Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina gunned him out at second.
Soriano then retired the last two batters easily to finish off the win.
"We've been playing pretty good ball to this point and once in awhile you have a game where you're not in sync," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "We put a couple of good swings on Strasburg, but they just played better than us today."
The Pirates held a 4-2 lead after Barmes' first home run of the season in the fifth, but starter Jeff Locke couldn't hold onto the advantage.
He gave up a single to Bryce Harper and then walked Zimmerman to start the sixth, ending his day. Justin Wilson took the mound and promptly walked LaRoche to load the bases, and two batters later, Ramos singled up the middle to plate a pair and even the score at 4-4.
Locke's scoreless streak ended at 15 1/3 innings after Desmond lifted a sacrifice fly in the third to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
Pittsburgh immediately answered in the bottom half. Barmes led off with a single and two batters later, Marte sent a Strasburg fastball over the wall in right-center to put the Pirates ahead 2-1.
Zimmerman brought the Nationals even in the fourth, leading off the frame with a triple and scoring on LaRoche's sac fly.
Locke had come in a winner in his last three decisions. He lasted five-plus innings and was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on three hits and three walks ... The Nationals improved to 13-2 when scoring three runs or more ... Desmond had a 10-game hitting streak snapped.