Nationals tag Joe Musgrove early in dismantling of Pirates |

Nationals tag Joe Musgrove early in dismantling of Pirates

Chris Adamski
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte leaps along the wall trying for fly ball that went for a three-run homer by the Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera in the third inningWednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, at PNC Park.
The Nationals’ Adam Eaton (left) dives back safely to first as Pirates first baseman Josh Bell makes the catch on a pickoff attempt during the first inning Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, at PNC Park.

After a one-night reprieve, the free-fall continues.

A six-run third inning did in starter Joe Musgrove, and the Pittsburgh Pirates managed just three singles off of Washington starter Patrick Corbin in an 11-1 Nationals win Wednesday night.

It was the Pirates’ 29th loss in 37 games since the All-Star break, another listless and lopsided defeat that brought them crashing back down to earth following Tuesday’s inspired win against the Nationals.

“It (stinks),” Musgrove said. “There’s not really much you can say about it. We are doing everything we can to come out of it. Guys are preparing the right way; we are just not getting the results we want.”

Josh Bell’s RBI double in the ninth inning Wednesday capped the Pirates’ fourth loss in five games, one that had manager Clint Hurdle answering questions afterward about his job security.

That was just the fifth inning among the 53 they’ve batted in during this homestand that they scored. They have not scored a run against a starting pitcher since the fourth inning of the homestand opener against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks last Friday.

Corbin (10-5) allowed three hits and two walks with five strikeouts and needed 93 pitches to get through his eight innings.

The team’s pitching perhaps has been even worse than its hitting: The Pirates have allowed 32 runs over their past four games.

Wednesday was the 23rd game this season the Pirates allowed an opponent at least 10 runs.

The Nationals batted around in both the third and eighth innings. During the latter, they scored three runs charged to Parker Markel, who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day.

Washington added two more in the ninth on runs that charged to Francisco Liriano, the second of which scored while Jose Osuna was on the mound.

Yes, things are so bad that Osuna, a slugging infielder/outfielder, was summoned to pitch for the second time in four weeks.

“I feel like as a clubhouse, we are all just as closely knit as we were earlier parts of the year,” Bell said. “We’re all still having a blast; this is the big leagues. This is what dreams are made of, for the most part for the guys. It gets tough and you get on part of losing streaks and losing parts of the season, but for the most part I feel like this is all still a dream, so I just have to keep it positive.”

The lone bright spots Wednesday were a two-hit game from NL batting champion candidate Bryan Reynolds and two perfect innings from Dario Agrazal on the day he was recalled from Triple-A.

The few left among the 10,577 announced to be on hand cheered loudly — one part catharsis, one part sarcasm — when Reynolds scored in the ninth.

Before that moment, the Pirates did not get a runner to third base.

“There’s a lot of things we have to do better: we’re not scoring very much, we’re not pitching very well,” Musgrove said. “We’re getting spurts of it, but good teams are able to that over the course of the season, and we just haven’t really done that. You’ve got to stay positive; you’ve got to be able to have a short memory and put this stuff behind you and get ready for the best day.”

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates
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