The Nationals grabbed a sweep-avoiding win Sunday, as they picked up seven runs offensively while Josiah Gray had another strong start for Washington.
Gray received some defensive help from Dom Smith in the fourth, as the bases were loaded and the Pirates had already picked up a run in the inning off Bryan Reynolds’ single earlier. However, Smith made a nice pick on a sharp grounder hit to first and his flip to Gray covering first base was just in time to get out of the bases-loaded jam.
The right-hander in Gray wraps up the month of April with the 10th-best ERA in the National League.
The Nats also continued their consistent trend of scoring a bunch in scoring in different spurts rather than consistent production throughout the game. All seven runs came in the first three innings.
In the first, Jeimer Candelario followed up Keibert Ruiz and Joey Meneses’ back-to-back two-out singles with a two-run double to drive in both. The Nats had two on with one out in the second inning via Alex Call’s walk and Victor Robles’ single, and Washington picked up three runs on Luis Garcia’s two-RBI single and Joey Meneses’ run-scoring single.
Washington then kept it going in the third, as CJ Abrams put two in scoring position with one out after a leadoff single from Dominic Smith earlier in the inning, and Robles would make it 7-1 with a two-run double.
Meneses went 4-for-5 at the plate while Robles, Candelario, and Ruiz all had two-hit days. In addition, every Nationals hitter had a hit — they racked up 15 hits on the day and knocked Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo out of the game 2 1/3 innings into the affair.
Called up today after Anthony Banda was designated for assignment, Andres Machado hurled two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for Washington while only yielding one hit. Kyle Finnegan allowed two hits for a run in the top of the ninth.
Nats look ahead to a four-game series with the Cubs.
Monday @ 7:05 p.m. ET: MacKenzie Gore vs. Drew Smyly
Tuesday @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Trevor Williams @ Hayden Wesneski
Wednesday @ 7:05 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Marcus Stroman
Thursday @1:05 p.m. ET: Patrick Corbin vs. TBD