Nats take Sunday finale at PNC


By Will Beverina 

The Washington Nationals’ party continued on Sunday afternoon. A day after clinching their third division title in five years, the Nats secured a wild win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, 10-7.

And this time, everyone was invited. With the teams combining to use 17 pitchers, and a benches-clearing scuffle incited in the third inning, Washington made sure the festivities were more inclusive than the champagne-popping celebrations after their Saturday night win.

There even seemed to be no hangover—from the offense, anyway. Washington opened up the mid-day matchup with three early runs in the first inning, starting with a Bryce Harper groundout that allowed leadoff man Ben Revere to score. An Anthony Rendon double and Josh Bell error later and the Nats found themselves up 3-0.

The lead was short-lived. With A.J. Cole on the mound for Washington, Jung Ho Kang drove in John Jaso with a single, followed by a Sean Rodriguez sacrifice fly and a Jordy Mercer pop out to bring home two more and tie the game at 3-3 after the first.

That score would stand into the third inning, when tempers started to flare after Kang faked a tag at third base on a Harper triple, causing Harper to slide awkwardly and injure his thumb, causing him to leave the game. Cole would then throw behind Kang on his next at-bat, causing both dugouts to clear and gather at home plate. Home plate umpire Jordan Baker immediately ejected Cole, while Rodriguez was also tossed from the game for the Pirates.

Kang would cause further harm in the seventh inning when he smashed his 20th home run of the season into left center field off of Koda Glover. The two-run shot broke another deadlock between the two sides and gave the Pirates a 7-5 lead.

Not to be outdone, Washington outfielder Jayson Werth blasted a line drive home run to center field to start off the eighth inning. Werth’s 21st home run of the year helped spark a five-run eighth for the Nats, with Chris Heisey and Clint Robinson driving in runs and Pedro Severino drawing a bases-loaded walk. The offensive explosion gave Washington a 10-7 lead that they wouldn’t surrender, and their 91st win of the season.

Reliever Shawn Kelley earned the win for Washington, improving to 3-2 on the year. Felipe Rivero’s five earned runs allowed in the eighth gave him a blown save and a loss, dropping his record to 1-5 this season.

The Nats return home for a four-game series starting Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. First pitch on Monday is set for 7:05 p.m.

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