for this game

McCutchen leads Pirates past Nationals

May 10, 2012 - 6:16 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Andrew McCutchen finished 4-for-4 with a solo home run and two RBI as the Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Washington Nationals, 4-2, in the middle tilt of a three-game set at PNC Park.

Neil Walker and Casey McGehee added an RBI apiece for the Pirates, who have taken the first two games of this series.

Brad Lincoln (2-0) tossed three innings of relief to earn the victory behind starter Erik Bedard, who was removed after just one inning due to back spasms. Lincoln allowed one unearned run on a hit and a walk while fanning four. Joel Hanrahan struggled in the ninth but picked up his sixth save of the year.

"They've been very resilient," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of his bullpen. "They've been very effective. Tonight, they bent but they didn't break. "We pitched ourselves into some tight corner, but were able to get out of them."

Chad Tracy drove in a run with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly and Xavier Nady added an RBI base hit for the Nats, who have lost six in a row on the road and three straight overall.

Ross Detwiler (3-2) gave up three runs on seven hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four through six innings.

Pittsburgh opened the scoring with three runs in the third. After Josh Harrison opened the frame with a fly out, Lincoln struck out, but the ball got away from Wilson Ramos, which allowed Lincoln to reach first. Jose Tabata singled to put runners on the corners and Lincoln was able to trot home on a base hit by Walker.

McCutchen then ripped a single into right field to bring home Tabata. Walker was tagged out in a rundown on a fielder's choice by Pedro Alvarez, and McGehee followed with a sharp grounder in the hole at shortstop. Ian Desmond snagged the ball and went for the tag play at home, but McCutchen slid under the tag of Ramos.

The Nats got a run back in the fourth when Bryce Harper drew a one-out walk and Adam LaRoche reached on an error by Alvarez to put Nats on the corners. Nady came through with an RBI single into right to make it a 3-1 game.

Danny Espinosa began the Washington seventh with a double off Juan Cruz, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac-fly by Tracy to cut the Nats deficit to one.

Ryan Zimmerman ripped a one-out double down the right field line in the Nats' eighth, LaRoche was intentionally walked and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina drew a walk after an eight-pitch battle with Jason Grilli to load the bases. Grilli recovered to strike out Espinosa and Rick Ankiel to preserve the Pirates' lead.

"It's just one of those things we have to get better at," Zimmerman said about his team's clutch hitting. "If we take advantage of our opportunities it's a different game."

McCutchen gave the Bucs some breathing room in the home eighth when he smashed a 2-2 offering from Craig Stammen over the wall in left field for a two-run lead.

Hanrahan got off to a good start in the ninth by getting Ramos to ground out, but then plunked pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi and gave up a double to Desmond to put runners on second and third. Hanrahan battled back though, and got Harper to pop and before fanning Zimmerman to end the game.

Game Notes

Tabata (1-for-4) has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games...The Nats managed just five hits as a team and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position while stranding 10...Pittsburgh was 3-for-5 with men in scoring position while stranding four and improved to 10-1 this season when scoring at least four runs.