Washington, DC – The Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Washington Nationals in the opener of a four-game series, 6-5, behind a pair of two-run homers from Andrew McCutchen.
The win may have come at a cost, though, as closer Jason Grilli exited in the ninth inning with an apparent arm injury.
"We're going to have to wait to see what the test results are," Pirates catcher Russell Martin said when asked of Grilli's injury. "It's a definite blow...but hopefully it's something minor."
Charlie Morton (2-2) gave up three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of work to pick up the win, Pittsburgh's second straight after losing three in a row.
The victory didn't come easy.
Jayson Werth took Grilli deep for his second two-run homer of the night in the ninth to pull Washington within a run. Denard Span made it even more interesting with a one-out double, and Grilli exited with two outs after throwing a pitch to pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi.
Vin Mazzaro relieved the injured Grilli and induced a game-ending groundout to pick up his first save of the year.
Jordy Mercer and Martin each had two hits and scored a run for the Pirates, who won despite going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Dan Haren (4-11) took another one in the loss column, surrendering five runs on five hits and one walk over his five-inning start. Haren has dropped his last eight decisions and the Nationals are 0-11 in his starts since mid-May.
Washington, which fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein on Monday, also received a solo blast from Adam LaRoche in addition to Werth's second consecutive multi- home run effort.
The long balls weren't enough as the club fell behind 5-0 en route to its fourth straight loss and seventh in its last eight games.
McCutchen got the scoring started three batters in. Following a walk to Mercer, the All-Star center fielder took Haren deep to right-center, then did the same in the third, this time to left-center, after Starling Marte was hit by a pitch earlier in the frame.
"I got a couple pitches up and paid the price for it," Haren said.
The Pirates added another run in the fourth when Martin led off with a base hit, moved to third on Garrett Jones' double and scored on Gaby Sanchez's groundout.
The Nationals did not record a hit until LaRoche found the right-field seats leading off the fifth, and Werth, who went deep twice in Sunday's loss to the Dodgers, cut Washington's deficit to 5-3 in the seventh when he golfed a Morton changeup over the wall in left-center.
Drew Storen helped give a critical run back in the eighth. With runners on second and third and two outs, the Nationals reliever threw a pair of wild pitches. Pedro Alvarez, who singled off Ian Krol to open the frame, didn't try to score on the first wild pitch, but slid in safely on the next one after Storen dropped Ramos's throw from the backstop.
McCutchen has eight career multi-home run games. He has gone deep five times in his last six games ... In his last nine games at Nationals Park, McCutchen is 18-for-35 (.514) with four doubles, two triples, five home runs and 12 RBI ... Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes appeared in his 1,000th career game ... Werth has 11 career multi-home run games ... Pittsburgh is a woeful 3-for-47 with RISP in its last five games.