for this game

Kearns' single send Nationals past Pirates

May 2, 2008 - 3:46 AM By Benjamin Standig PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Hits have been few and far between for Austin Kearns through the first month of the season. With the calendar turning to May, his fortunes at the plate may have turned as well.

Kearns drove home the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth and propelled the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

After a pitchers' duel between the Pirates' Zach Duke and the Nationals' Odalis Perez produced a 2-2 tie through seven innings, Washington broke through against reliever John Grabow (1-1).

Cristian Guzman led off the eighth with a single and, with one out, Nick Johnson was hit by a pitch. Following a strikeout from Lastings Milledge, Kearns ripped the first pitch he saw from Grabow to right, plating Guzman for the go-ahead run at 3-2.

Kearns, who finished the month of April hitting .182, went 2-for-4 and increased his batting average 12 points to .194 on the season. The performance halted the 2-for-29 slump he endured over his previous eight games.

"Just trying to get the guy in - as simple as that," Kearns said.

Luis Ayala (1-1) pitched one inning in relief for the win and Jon Rauch worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save in eight chances for the Nationals.

In a swiftly played game that lasted only just over two hours, Perez was able to work ahead in the count much of the game as he continued his recent solid pitching stretch for the Nationals. He allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings with four strikeouts and did so against a lineup that had scored 13 runs in their previous game.

After signing with the Nationals as a free agent this past offseason, Perez has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his seven starts, but has yet to pick up a win.

"Just because he's not winning doesn't mean we are not noticing that every five days he has been tremendous for us and giving us the best chance to win," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

The Nationals have won seven of their last nine games - rebounding from their 5-15 start - and improved starting pitching has led the turnaround.

"The way we all have been pitching together has been great," Perez said. "We had a bad, bad losing record, but the way we have been playing the last eight or nine games has been great."

The Nationals' lefthander retired the first 10 Pirates he faced before Freddy Sanchez pounded an 0-1 offering over the wall in left-center field in the fourth inning for his first home run of the season.

Perez remained steady, but in the seventh he was hurt by another solo shot. Ryan Doumit hammered a 1-1 pitch that nearly mirrored Sanchez's blast, sailing over the wall for his fifth of the season to tie the game at 2-2.

Duke rebounded from two consecutive rough outings and matched Perez, allowing only five hits and two runs - both coming in the second inning. Milledge and Kearns led off the inning with consecutive singles and moved up a base on a soft roller in front of home plate by Wily Mo Pena.

"I was able to keep them off balance and get a lot of ground balls, so I was pretty satisfied," said Duke, who allowed 11 earned runs in his previous two starts but remained winless on the road since May 27, 2007.

Wil Nieves slapped a single up the middle past a drawn-in infield to plate both runners and put the Nationals ahead, 2-0.






  • 55
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    meninredsox Added 5 roots

    Pirates 2, Nationals 3  FinalMay 1 10:05 PM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 3 0
    WASHINGTON 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 3 7 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PIT - ZACH DUKE, JOHN GRABOW (8TH) AND RYAN DOUMIT
    WAS - ODALIS PEREZ, LUIS AYALA (8TH), JON RAUCH (9TH)
    AND WIL NIEVES

    HOME RUNS: PIT - FREDDY SANCHEZ (1) OFF OD

    May 1 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AUSTIN KEARNS SCORED CRISTIAN GUZMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A KEARNS ON SECOND, N JOHNSON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2
    WASHINGTON 3 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: W PENA (.208, 1-FOR-3)

    Pirates 2, Nationals 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 1 9:10 PM
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    Pirates 2, Nationals 3  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 1 9:10 PM


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    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN DOUMIT (5) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF ODALIS PEREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 2, WASHINGTON 2
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: X NADY (.330, 0-FOR-2)

    Pirates 2, Nationals 2  Top 7, 0 OutsMay 1 8:36 PM
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    Pirates 1, Nationals 2  Top 6, 0 OutsMay 1 8:21 PM


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    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY FREDDY SANCHEZ (1) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 4TH OFF ODALIS PEREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 1, WASHINGTON 2
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAY (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Pirates 1, Nationals 2  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 1 7:59 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY WIL NIEVES SCORED LASTINGS MILLEDGE AND AUSTIN
    KEARNS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, W NIEVES ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 0
    WASHINGTON 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: O PEREZ (.222, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Pirates 0, Nationals 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsMay 1 7:37 PM
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    Pirates vs. NationalsMay 1 3:37 PM
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    Pirates vs. NationalsApr 2 4:19 AM