Bucs pile on, cruise past Nats to take series

Bucs pile on, cruise past Nats to take series

PITTSBURGH -- With a struggling, depleted bullpen, the Nationals needed innings from Tanner Roark on Thursday at PNC Park. He got through five, but the Pirates powered past him and a trio of relievers and won the series finale, 10-4.

The Pirates racked up 13 hits, including three from leadoff man Adam Frazier and two from Andrew McCutchen, as they cruised to a series victory. After losing six straight last week, the Bucs have won four of their last five games.

"Hopefully we can build on this," said Frazier, now hitting .347 with an .862 OPS. "Offense got it going pretty good today, and the pitching did a really good job the past couple days of shutting them down. I think that is just as or more impressive, to shut down a lineup like that, so hopefully they can keep rolling."

John Jaso homered off Roark to give the Pirates a one-run lead in the fifth, and Frazier gave the Bucs some breathing room with a two-run double off reliever Blake Treinen in the sixth. The Pirates kept piling on, as Frazier scored on Josh Harrison's sacrifice fly and drove home two more runs with a seventh-inning single to right field, bringing his career-high RBI total to four.

Frazier's two-run single

"He's done a really nice job for us. Very professional guy up there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said about Frazier. "Drove in four today, which was impressive, driving the ball to the deep part of center field, working a ball through the right side off a left-hander. … It's nice to have him back in the lineup."

The two clubs went back and forth in the early innings. Josh Bell, batting cleanup for the first time in his career, launched a two-run homer to right off Roark in the first inning. Daniel Murphy homered off starter Tyler Glasnow in the second, cutting the Bucs' lead in half. Roark walked in a run and allowed another on a fielder's choice in the third, but the Nats took advantage of Glasnow's mistakes to even the score in the fourth. But Washington's bullpen continued to struggle, running its ERA to 5.32 on the season, while the Nats' lineup was held scoreless for four innings by four Pittsburgh relievers.

Bell's two-run home run

"It was a bad couple of days. We didn't play very well," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "A lot of mistakes; it was like we weren't there sometimes. We've got to up the intensity and up our concentration."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Patience and power: Jaso worked a walk with the bases loaded in the third inning to bring home a run. The struggling outfielder took a more conventional approach in the fifth inning, putting the Pirates ahead with a solo shot into the Nats bullpen in center field. The ball landed a projected 430 feet away from home plate, according to Statcast™, Jaso's longest homer tracked by Statcast™ and Pittsburgh's fifth-longest homer of the season.

Jaso's solo home run

"The thing about this game is you just keep playing," Jaso said. "You never know, it could be that at-bat where you break through a slump or whatever you're going through. You never know." More >

Thrown away: Glasnow let the Nationals climb back into the game with an inconsistent outing. Between perfect first, third and fifth innings, the rookie right-hander gave up one run in the second and three in the fourth. He had a chance to get out of the fourth with only one run on the board, as he faced Roark with two outs and runners on second and third. Roark hit a chopper back to the mound, and Glasnow made a wild throw to first base, allowing both runners to score and tying the game. Glasnow returned to the mound and worked an eight-pitch fifth, a bounceback that impressed Hurdle.

Nats score two runs on error

"I went up and saw I had some time. I kind of just took some off of it, and it went that way," Glasnow said. "Two runs scored, but that ended up not hurting us at the end of the game. I was really mad at the time, but it's easier now."

QUOTABLE
"It's a really good lineup, one of the better offensive teams in the league. That kind of motivates me a little bit more, maybe. Not to go out there and change what you're doing or anything. It was good to go out there and only give up three hits and compete the whole time. It was definitely a confidence-booster." -- Glasnow

"It just seemed like he lost command of the strike zone. I had to go get him early, which I'm not accustomed to. This is a couple times in a row where his pitch count has gotten high. You never see him missing high like he's missing."-- Baker, on Roark

Pitch count remains nagging issue for Roark

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz recorded his first Major League hit, a single to right field, in the seventh inning. Ortiz made his Major League debut earlier this season after spending parts of nine seasons in the Minors, dating back to 2008. Ortiz, 27, played 901 games and made 3,542 plate appearances in the Minors before recording his long-awaited first hit in the big leagues.

"It feels great," Ortiz said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. "A memory I'm never going to forget."

Ortiz's first career hit

WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez takes a 4-9 career record against Atlanta to SunTrust Field on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET to face the Braves. The veteran lefty is off to a good start (3-1, 2.46 ERA), but he has issued 14 walks in 17 2/3 innings over his past three outings.

Pirates: Right-hander Trevor Williams will start for the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday as they open a three-game series against the Phillies at PNC Park. Williams is coming off a strong five-inning outing in Arizona, where he allowed one run on a homer and retired the final 12 hitters he faced in order.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh and covered the Nationals on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.