PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — James McDonald struck out 11 batters and Andrew McCutchen hit two home runs Thursday night to lead the Pirates to a 5-3 win against the Washington Nationals.
McDonald had a no-hitter through five innings, at one point striking out six straight batters. He allowed three runs on four hits, throwing 5 2/3 innings.
McDonald’s first hit allowed ended up leading the Buccos (18-20) into a jam. Leading, 4-0, in the sixth, Jesus Flores and Stephen Lombardozzi doubled, putting runners at second and third with one out.
Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single that scored Flores and Lombardozzi to cut the deficit to 4-2. Adam LaRoche tripled in the next at-bat, scoring Zimmerman and all of a sudden the Pirates led by just one, 4-3.
Pittsburgh answered in the top of the seventh, as Neil Walker drove in Josh Harrison on a fielder’s choice for an insurance run and a 5-3 advantage.
McCutchen was the story early on. He hit a home run in the first inning to the opposite field to put the Pirates up, 1-0. After Rod Barajas hit a two-run homer in the fourth, McCutchen led off the sixth with a solo shot to left field for a 4-0 lead.