for this game

Nats rally to beat Pirates, earn DH split

Jul 3, 2011 - 5:03 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Ivan Rodriguez slapped a pinch-hit, RBI single in the eighth inning to lead the Washington Nationals past the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3, in the second game of a doubleheader.

The Pirates took the first contest, 5-3, behind back-to-back, eighth-inning homers from Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen.

Trailing 3-2 entering the eighth of the nightcap, the Nationals tied the game as pinch-runner Brian Bixler stole third and came home on a throwing error from rookie catcher Eric Fryer.

Later in the frame, with two down, Rodriguez fell behind 0-2, then fought off two fastballs before slicing a line drive to right, scoring Rick Ankiel.

"They outhhit us basically all day," Nats manager Davey Johnson said. "Getting a split, we're happy with that. I think guys are in a good frame of mind, I think guys are ready to bust out, but I hope it's soon."

Tony Watson (0-1) allowed the decisive hit.

With the tying run aboard in the ninth, Fryer was given a chance at redemption, but grounded into a force play to end the game, as Drew Storen earned his 20th save of the season.

The late-game fireworks spoiled the season debut of Brad Lincoln, who allowed just two runs on four hits and three walks while fanning four over six innings.

Daniel McCutchen worked around two walks to pitch a scoreless seventh, but Chris Resop began the eighth by hitting Michael Morse in the left forearm. Morse took first, but was replaced by Bixler as his arm quickly formed a grapefruit-sized welt.

Resop then induced a Jayson Werth flyout before Watson was brought in to face Ankiel.

Watson walked Ankiel, and Bixler scored during Wilson Ramos' at bat. After Ramos drew a walk, Watson sent Ian Desmond down on strikes, only to surrender the game-winner to Rodriguez one batter later.

"In the eighth inning we hit a batter, we had two walks and threw the ball away. It's hard not to give up one run," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Until that base hit we had a shot to get out of the inning."

The Nationals held an early lead in the back-and-forth contest, as Werth earned a second-inning walk, advanced to third on Ankiel's single and crossed the plate on Ramos' groundout.

Undaunted, the Pirates responded the next half-inning behind a pair of firsts.

Fryer began the frame with his first major league hit. He advanced to second on a Lincoln sacrifice bunt and to third on an Alex Presley groundout. Chase d'Arnaud then singled to left to record his first career RBI.

Andrew McCutchen followed with a high shot to right, which struck the wall inches above the glove of the leaping Werth to fall in for an RBI double, and the Pirates took a 2-1 lead.

The seesaw action carried over into the home half.

Roger Bernadina drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on Danny Espinosa's single. Ryan Zimmerman then rolled a grounder towards second. Neil Walker fielded the ball and flipped to d'Arnaud, getting the force at second, but the shortstop's throw to first pulled Jones off the bag, allowing Zimmerman to reach safely and Bernadina to cross the plate with the tying run

The game would remain deadlocked until the seventh, when Matt Diaz, who reached on a leadoff single, scored from third on Josh Harrison's double play groundout.

Ryan Mattheus (1-0) threw a scoreless eighth to earn his first major league win.

Game Notes

Despite the win, Washington was just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position...Lincoln made his major league debut in Nationals Park on June 9, 2010...Davey Johnson is 2-4 since taking over as Nationals' manager...Chien- Ming Wang made his second rehab start on Saturday, tossing four scoreless innings of two-hit ball at Single-A Potomac...Andrew McCutchen was a home run short of the cycle.