PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Quite simply, it was a roller coaster of emotions Tuesday night at PNC Park between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett pitched eight strong innings, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out 10. He put the Buccos in perfect position to win the game in the ninth, as Joel Hanrahan came to the mound for the save opportunity with a 3-2 lead.
Things didn’t quite go as planned.
Hanrahan allowed a two-run home run to former Pirate Adam LaRoche and the Nationals took a 4-3 lead. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Pirates catcher Rod Barajas smacked a two-run homer of his own to left field with two outs for a 5-4 Pirates win.
Burnett gave up a solo home run to Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in the third inning for a 1-0 Washington lead. The Nat’s added a second run on an RBI single from Rick Ankiel in the top of the fourth.
The Pirates followed with two homers of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen led off with a solo shot and Garrett Jones followed with another three batters later for a 2-2 tie.
In the eighth, with men on first and third and one out, Neil Walker hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Nate McLouth for a 3-2 edge. It put Burnett in position for the win with Hanrahan coming to the mound in the ninth for the save opportunity.
However, just two batters later, Laroche and Barajas provided the game-ending dramatics.