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Surging Nationals go for sweep of hapless Pirates

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The Washington Nationals look to record a three-game sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.

After posting an 8-1 win over the Pirates on Tuesday night, the Nationals have won three straight and five of their last seven without injured starting pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer.

The Nationals were hoping that Scherzer, who left with a groin injury after throwing just 12 pitches against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, could avoid the IL.

Scherzer got treatment over the weekend, but an abbreviated bullpen session on Monday resulted in the right-hander being placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to June 12) with groin inflammation.

“After going through the process, I just want to be more cautious than not,” manager Davey Martinez said Tuesday. “And this is an injury that, right now, it’s getting better. So, we want it to completely get better. It’s something that we don’t want him to re-injure (by trying) to force him to try to pitch.”

Right-hander Paolo Espino (0-2, 2.78 ERA) relieved Scherzer on Friday and threw 50 pitches. He will start in the series finale on Wednesday.

Over the past 11 games, Washington’s starting pitchers have compiled a 1.30 ERA with 47 strikeouts and a .197 opponents’ batting average.

Pittsburgh’s Chase De Jong (0-0, 4.80) makes his fourth start of the season Wednesday. He gave up two runs on four hits and four walks in five innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I don’t want to say it’s OK to walk guys,” De Jong said, “but we were much more off the barrel a lot better today than we had in my last start.”

De Jong has worked five innings in each of his starts.

Washington starter Patrick Corbin pitched 8 1/3 innings and Yan Gomes belted a grand slam to help the Nationals cruise to the win on Tuesday. Trea Turner had a triple and three singles for Washington, which handed Pittsburgh its ninth straight loss.

“We’re hitting the ball really well. We’re hitting the ball really hard,” Gomes said. “You don’t want to give the excuse of bad luck, but sometimes we’re getting it. But getting a couple games like today and (a 9-7 win at the Tampa Bay Rays last week), it’s a big win for us. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going on our side and keep playing like we’re playing.”

Tyler Anderson gave up five runs in the first inning for Pittsburgh.

“I know we’re not winning right now, but we’re playing pretty good baseball for the most part,” Anderson said. “Some things aren’t going our way. Pretty much one inning in a game. If you look at the last week, every game it’s been one inning that’s hurt us. If you avoid and limit damage in that one big inning, I think we’ll be okay.”

Bryan Reynolds, Erik Gonzalez and Ben Gamel had two hits each for the Pirates.

With a first-inning walk, Ke’Bryan Hayes extended his on-base streak to 13 games this season and 21 games dating back to the 2020 campaign.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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