PITTSBURGH – Clint Hurdle refused to criticize the decision made by his third base coach and star centerfielder.
That choice ended the game for the Pirates in defeat, but attempting to score from third on a fly to right is exactly how the first-year manager wants his team to play.
"We want to be aggressive; we want to be smart," Hurdle said after Jayson Werth threw out Andrew McCutchen at the plate to end Pittsburgh's 6-3 loss to Washington on Sunday.
"You never want to make the last out at home, but sometimes those things are going to happen. It's not a perfect world, it's not a perfect game, but our mentality is to play aggressive."
After the play, which was started by a ball hit by Jose Tabata, McCutchen threw his helmet to the ground in disgust and Hurdle argued with umpire Kerwin Danley.
McCutchen had calmed down by the time he spoke in the clubhouse after the game. He didn't say whether third base coach Nick Leyva sent him.
"Oh well, nothing you can do about it now. The game's over," he said. "That's about it.
"It doesn't matter what I thought; it doesn't matter if I was safe, the game's over now," he said.
Mike Morse had a three-run homer among his three-hits, Adam LaRoche also homered and the Nationals had a season-high 15 hits in handing the Pirates their fourth loss in five games.
Eleven of those hits came during starter Kevin Correia's 4 2-3 innings.
"I was kind of doing what I wanted to, I felt pretty good out there; it was just one of those that got away kind of at the wrong time," Correia (3-2) said. "One bad pitch, and in my two starts I haven't won, that's kind of what happened."
Morse's drive was his first of the season and came during the Nationals' four-run third inning that helped Jason Marquis win his second consecutive start and his fifth straight decision against Pittsburgh since 2008.
Danny Espinosa had three hits with a run and Marquis (2-0) also had two hits to raise his season average to .400 for Washington.
Neil Walker had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates.
Drew Storen earned his third save — all coming in his last three appearances.
Morse took a 2-2 pitch from Correia to left with Rick Ankiel and Werth aboard in the third.
"Absolutely, I've kept my confidence," Morse said. "That's one thing I won't lose is confidence in myself.
"I saw a pitch and I hit it. It was a fastball and I got a good part of the barrel and it went out."
The two-out clout came after it appeared as if Correia would escape a bases loaded, nobody out jam by allowing only one run on a grounder.
"I thought I pitched pretty well, and I got myself into a position I shouldn't have got into and I just couldn't get out of it," Correia said. "A couple bad pitches at the right time."
LaRoche, a former Pirates player, led off the fifth with his third homer, to right, to make it 5-3.
Correia failed in his first attempt at becoming the first Pirates pitcher to win four games in April since Jeff Suppan in 2003. He fell to 0-2 at home by allowing five runs.
Marquis continued the Nationals' season-long streak of their starters going at least five innings by allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings. Marquis, who had two strikeouts, has more wins against the Pirates (12) than any other team. He has won nine of his past 11 decisions against Pittsburgh.
"I felt like I was getting better as the game went on," Marquis said. "Felt like my stuff was getting better, felt like I was getting stronger."
Pittsburgh has scored more runs in the first than any other inning this season. After scoring five in a 7-2 win over Washington on Saturday, Walker gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead Sunday with a one-out single that drove in McCutchen.
Pittsburgh scored twice in the fourth on Chris Snyder's sacrifice fly and Ronny Cedeno's RBI double.
"We had a pretty good inning. ... We felt like we were in the game the whole time today but we weren't just able to get those few extra runs," McCutchen said. "We got the short end of the stick today.
"I'm ready to start going on a win streak," he added. "I'm tried of winning one, losing one; we gotta go on a wining streak here in a minute. It'll come though."
NOTES: The Nationals activated RHP Todd Coffey (strained left calf) from the 15-day DL. ... Two days after a postponement and a day after the start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 11 minutes, neither team was able to take batting practice Sunday because of morning rain. Although it was dry at first pitch, a light rain began to fall during the third inning and lasted throughout much of the remainder of the game. ... Washington's Jerry Hairston and Ivan Rodriguez each had two hits. ... The first Easter game in Pittsburgh since 2006 drew only 9,520.