Pirates' Maholm earns first victory
In Paul Maholm's first four starts this season, the Pirates scored a total of four runs.
That the left-hander was still looking for his first win of the season against the Washington Nationals on Monday night was not entirely coincidental, and the number four turned out to play a big part once again in Maholm's result.
The Pirates scored four runs in a rain-delayed fourth inning, Maholm was even better coming out of the interruption than he was going in, and the Pirates won, 4-2.
Maholm went seven innings, and allowed just four hits -- including a two-run single to former Pirate first baseman Adam LaRoche in the first inning -- and two walks. He struck out eight.
It was the Pirates' sixth comeback win of the year, with newly acquired infielder Brandon Wood's two-run double providing the winning margin after the Nationals scored two in the first inning.
Evan Meek pitched a scoreless eighth, and Joel Hanrahan put two runners on base with two outs but earned his sixth save in as many opportunities.
It was the Pirates' first home series win of the year after a 1-5 performance during the first homestand, and it came in front of an announced crowd of 12,457 at PNC Park.
The actual crowd seemed more like 457. The game was a makeup of Friday's rainout, the Penguins were playing in Tampa, and there was a threat of severe thunderstorms.
The rain did come shortly after the game started and continued in waves after that.
Just before it poured hard enough to bring the grounds crew out and force a delay, the Pirates took advantage of a throwing error by right fielder Jayson Werth.
Jose Tabata, who walked and advanced to second on a Matt Diaz groundout, was held at third when Neil Walker hit a line drive single to right field. But Werth slipped making the throw, the ball hit catcher Wilson Ramos, then bounced into the Pirates' dugout. Tabata scored, Walker went to third -- and the tarp came out moments later.
The delay lasted just 21 minutes, but that was long enough to affect Nationals' starter John Lannan.
The left-hander walked Steve Pearce coming out of the delay. Wood, making his Pirates debut at third base, stroked the ball to the right-center field gap to score two and give the Pirates the lead.
"Big hit, great time of the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We only had one hit the first time through the order, then we were able to come back and score four. Good for us, good for him."
Chris Snyder, who was robbed in his first at-bat when Michael Morse made a great catch at the left-field wall, singled to drive in Wood and make it 4-2.
"It's nice to get the first hit and first RBIs out of the way," Wood said. "I did (feel pretty comfortable). There were some jitters; the first game's like Opening Day a little bit. But I just put that behind me and went and played."
How they scored
-- Nationals first (Paul Maholm pitching)
With one out, Ian Desmond singled to center. Jayson Werth doubled to right, Desmond to third. Adam LaRoche singled to center, Desmond and Werth scored.
Nationals 2, Pirates 0
-- Pirates fourth (John Lannan pitching)
With one out, Jose Tabata walked. Matt Diaz grounded out to first, Tabata to second. Neil Walker singled to shallow right, Tabata to third, Tabata scored, Walker to third on right fielder Jayson Werth's fielding error. Steven Pearce walked. Brandon Wood doubled to right-center, Walker and Pearce scored. Chris Snyder singled to shallow left, Wood scored.
Pirates 4, Nationals 2
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