WASHINGTON – Kyle Schwarber scored one more home game to draw in the seventh inning and drove in two runs for the Washington Nationals in their 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Jon Lester hit 5 1/3 solid innings to help the Nationals for a third time in four games.
Schwarber’s Homer was his fourth in three days. The Nationals put him in first place in the opener of a day-night double-headed ball on Saturday. He started the game with a home run, met two more on Sunday and this time gave the go-ahead against Reliever Clay Holmes (2-2).
“If he swings on balls in the zone, he’ll hit hard somewhere.” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
Schwarber also had an RBI single on the third and left. His only out was a line drive, which was caught in the first inning by jumping over second baseman Adam Frazier.
Lester finished sixth for the fourth time in nine starts this season. He allowed a lead-off double, then got a line drive-out before being removed.
The 37-year-old left-hander has an average of 4 2/3 innings per start this year. He doesn’t have a win yet.
“At the end of the day we have to win ball games” said Lester. “I don’t care how we do it.”
Wander Suero replaced him, allowing a soft single and Erik Gonzalez’s sacrificial fly, which tied it on 2.
Kyle Finnegan (3-2) scored two hits to win in an unmatched inning. Brad Hand threw a scoreless ninth place for his 12th save in 14 tries.
Schwarber pushed Victor Robles home with his single on the third. Juan Soto’s single drove into Trea Turner to take the Nationals 2-1 up later in the inning.
“If our offense starts clicking and we start scoring runs, we will consistently win games.” said Martinez.
Kevin Newman opened the lead with his second homer of the season and gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the second half.
Pittsburgh starter JT Brubaker allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.
JOKERS ON THE STICKY MATERIAL
Washington ace Max Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA Executive Committee and one of only two player representatives for the association. So when he’s talking on a broad subject, his words carry more weight than his pitching resume in the Hall of Fame.
He was asked on Monday about Major League Baseball’s expected course of action against pitchers making the “sticky stuff” to improve their grip and sometimes the spin rate when throwing the baseball.
“There are solutions for all of us and how to go about it and what the rules should be, how the practice should be” said Scherzer. “And especially what hitters want. I think that’s the biggest question: what do hitters want? We have heard of a lot of thugs. All drummers who speak publicly want the pitchers to have a tack over baseball, a grip over baseball. What it looks like, that’s a conversation we’ll have. “
Scherzer also mentioned that he knew as much about baseball’s likely enforcement as reporters did, which means the MLB is not communicating with the union about it.
“Whatever has been written is what we know” said Scherzer. “There is no additional information other than that.”
Pirates: RHP Trevor Cahill was put on the 10-day injury list for a left calf injury on Saturday, two days after he was reinstated from the IL. He threw only 1 1/3 innings in his start on Thursday. Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said the pirates would take their time bringing the veteran’s mug back next time. “I think we’re going to look at different treatments, whether it’s different modalities or time periods, and just keep going down that path and see how we can get it back healthy.” said Shelton.
Nationals: Scherzer threw a bullpen but it didn’t go as well as hoped. He threw 10 pitches and his groin wouldn’t loosen up so he won’t make his scheduled start on Wednesday. The three-time Cy Young Award winner said it was up to Martinez whether he would get on the injured list or just be put off for a few days. Scherzer pinched his groin on Friday and only took one out. He said he wouldn’t be able to make his next scheduled start on Sunday if he didn’t get through a bullpen.
Pittsburgh sends LHP Tyler Anderson (3-6, 4.52 ERA) up the hill in the middle game of the series. The fighting LHP Patrick Corbin (3-5, 6.21) goes for the Nationals.
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