Washington, DC – After blowing a four-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Washington Nationals got a two-run homer from Bryce Harper in the bottom half to take a 9-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates scored four runs off Rafael Soriano in the ninth to tie the contest at seven. Pittsburgh then sent Bryan Morris (4-4) to the mound in the home half. Roger Bernadina reached base on a fielder's choice before Harper's two-out homer to center.
"I was happy to get the 'W' today. We needed it," Harper said. "Hopefully this carries on."
Harper's homer gave Ian Krol (1-0) his first victory in the big leagues. Krol recorded the final two outs in the ninth to pick up the win. Washington starter Gio Gonzalez allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out 11 over 5 2/3 innings.
Ryan Zimmerman and Steve Lombardozzi each went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Washington, which snapped a six-game skid. Adam LaRoche knocked in two runs.
Josh Harrison went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and four RBI for the Pirates, who had a four-game winning streak stopped. Russell Martin, Jordy Mercer and A.J. Burnett each knocked in a run.
Burnett got the start for Pittsburgh and gave up four runs -- one earned -- on nine hits over seven innings.
Holding a 7-3 lead, Washington sent Soriano to the mound to start the ninth. Pinch-hitter Neil Walker and Starling Marte worked back-to-back walks before Mercer's RBI double to left-center field. Marte scored on Martin's base hit to left two batters later.
Krol came in from the bullpen and immediately walked Pedro Alvarez to load the bases. After pinch-hitter Jose Tabata struck out swinging for the second out, Harrison hit a two-run single up the middle to tie the game.
However, Morris was unable to extend the contest in the bottom half.
The Nationals took advantage of three Pittsburgh errors in the first inning to grab an early 4-0 lead. Harper, who was hit by a pitch, was caught in a rundown between second and third following Lombardozzi's bunt single. Alvarez's missed catch error allowed Harper to round third and score.
"Those are mistakes that happen," Burnett said. "We all turned the page quickly."
Zimmerman followed with an RBI single to right and scored on a two-out single by Denard Span, with another runner scoring on Gaby Sanchez's throwing error.
The Pirates got on the board in the fourth. Sanchez singled, advanced to third on Clint Barmes' double and scored on Burnett's groundout.
Harrison's two-run homer in the sixth cut the gap to 4-3.
Washington tacked on three more runs in the eighth. Bernadina walked and Harper singled to put men on the corners with one out. Lombardozzi followed with an RBI ground-rule double to left. Two batters later, LaRoche hit a two- run triple to right past a diving Travis Snider, making it a 7-3 game.
The Pirates went 4-3 against the Nationals this season ... Pittsburgh was trying to complete a four-game road sweep of the Nationals/Expos franchise for the first time since June 23-26, 1988 in Montreal ... Nationals manager Davey Johnson was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Mike Winters ... Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected in the seventh by first base umpire Laz Diaz.