Lights Go Out On Nationals

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, May 05, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

Washington, DC--For 25 minutes, the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates relaxed while stadium workers furiously tried to restore power to the banks of lights that went out in Nationals Park in the bottom of the fourth. Unfortunately for the Nats, the break didn't help matters at all, as a six-run outburst for the Pirates in the third eventually turned into an 11-4 victory, evening this series at one game apiece.

Nats' starter John Lannan (2-3) brought an 18 inning scoreless streak into this game, and extended it to a franchise record 20 innings after escaping the first two innings of this affair. But he fought his control the entire night and it finally caught up to him in the top of the sixth. The Pirates batted around in the frame, getting to Lannan for four hits and a walk and six runs in the inning, three of which were delivered courtesy of Jose Bautista's three-run home run. Lannan completed the third inning but did not return for the fourth, surrendering a total of six runs--five earned--on six hits and two walks. He did not strikeout a batter.

Lannan has been one of the big success stories for the Nats so far this season, but on this occasion he just did not have it. Lannan hit Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth with his very first pitch of the game, and although McLouth didn't score on that occasion--it would be the only at bat he didn't score--it was a bad omen for Lannan's performance on the evening.

Lannan was relieved by left-hander Mike O'Connor and the hits just kept on coming for the Bucs. O'Connor pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on three hits and three walks. All told, six Pirates drove in runs, led by third baseman Bautista, who homered twice, drove in four runs and scored three runs. Catcher Ryan Doumit and shortstop Chris Gomez each drove in a pair.

The Nationals did not offer much resistance. Wil Nieves drove in two runs with a double down the left field line, and Wily Mo Pena and Felipe Lopez each plated a run. But it was much too little against a Pirates team that had lost five of their last seven games coming into this one,

The Nats and Pirates square off again Saturday afternoon at 1:05 pm at Nationals Park. Matt Chico (0-5) defends the shores of the Anacostia against the Pirate Paul Maholm (2-2).

NATS NOTES: The loss puts the Nationals' season record at 12-18, five games behind division leading Philadelphia.

Elijah Dukes, on the DL with a hamstring strain, led off for Triple-A Columbus and went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

The team activated catcher Paul LoDuca, although he did not play, and placed closer Chad Cordero on the disabled list with a torn lat muscle behind his right shoulder. Cordero, as reported earlier, will miss at least four to six weeks.

First baseman Dmitri Young is going to Viera, Florida tomorrow for extended spring training to get back into game shape. A team trainer was able to alleviate his back pain by releasing a strain in his hip flexor that apparently was causing the nerve irritation in his lower back. He took batting practice at the stadium earlier in the day and reported no additional discomfort.

Lights Go Out On Nationals also posted at DC Sports Box