User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Horses
Golf
Auto
Soccer
More
Betting Tools

 
Nationals nip Pirates, 'over' comes through

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

PITTSBURGH (AP) - It took a rare team meeting for the Washington Nationals to get what lately has been a rare victory when Stephen Strasburg starts.

Advertisement
Strasburg struck out eight in seven innings and the Nationals won one of his outings for the first time since opening day by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 Saturday.

``I was absolutely happy about getting through the seventh inning,'' Strasburg said. ``The biggest thing is to give your team a chance to win the ballgame. Not every game are you going to be lights out and hitting every spot.''

Strasburg remained winless since his first start, though. He allowed four runs and five hits - all of Pittsburgh's offense coming on two-run homers by Starling Marte and Clint Barmes.

Strasburg is 1-4 with a 3.45 ERA in seven starts this season.

``I thought (Strasburg) threw really well,'' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``He made one good pitch after another. He only made two bad pitches all day, a couple over the heart of the plate that they hit out of the park. But he held us in the game and did a good job.''

Tyler Moore hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning off Tony Watson (1-1) to score Ryan Zimmerman, who was on third after an unlikely double steal.

Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche had combined for 36 steals in 2,219 games and none this season when they took off and got good enough jumps that Pirates catcher Russell Martin didn't even bother throwing.

``We know who has what times (to the plate), what guys are slow and what guys are fast and what guys give a guy like me an actual chance to steal a base,'' said Zimmerman, whose steal of third was the first of his career.

``When you're looking at a pitcher that takes 1.8-2.0 seconds to get the ball to the plate, I should be able to steal off him.''

Johnson said the Nationals were being more aggressive on the bases in an attempt to jump-start a lethargic offense that had scored three or fewer runs 14 times in its most recent 20 games.

Before the game, Johnson called a team meeting with the same goal in mind.

His primary message: Relax. For the first time since the franchise moved from Montreal eight years ago, the Nationals entered the season with extremely high expectations. The NL East champions began the game with 239 strikeouts by their batters, second-most in the NL, and whiffed 14 times during Friday's series-opening loss.

In an effort to loosen the team up, the 70-year-old Johnson even took batting practice - getting about 40 hacks - for what he said was the first time in 25 years.

The results were mixed most of the afternoon: The Nationals scored more than three runs for the first time in seven games, but had only six hits.

Pirates starter Jeff Locke allowed three of those during his five-plus innings, allowing four runs, three earned, with three walks and three strikeouts.

``Well, we got a few more guys on base,'' Johnson said. ``We didn't get many in - but it's a start.''

Ian Desmond's sacrifice fly in the third snapped a 15-plus scoreless inning streak by Locke. Adam LaRoche drove in Zimmerman with a fly to right an inning later after Zimmerman led off the inning with a triple.

``Everything felt pretty good today,'' Locke said. ``I just need to be a little bit more efficient early in the count.''

A day after striking out four times upon being activated from the disabled list, Zimmerman scored three runs. Wilson Ramos' RBI single in the sixth tied the game at 4 after Pittsburgh built a two-run lead.

Tyler Clippard (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano got his 10th save with an unconventional 1-2-3 ninth. Martin was thrown out at second trying to extend a leadoff single, then Soriano got Pedro Alvarez to pop out and Jordy Mercer to strike out to end the game.

Marte's homer was his fourth of the season. Barmes, who scored two runs and doubled his RBI total on his first home run of the season, improved his season average from .173 to .192.

``It's definitely always nice to help out on the offensive side of things,'' Barmes said. ``Hit a ball hard and finally got something out of it.''

NOTES: Washington OF Denard Span was not in the lineup a day after fouling a ball off his right foot. The Nationals are without OF Jayson Werth (right hamstring) for the series. ... Pittsburgh had a four-game home winning streak snapped. ... All of the Pirates' seven runs in the series have come by way of home run. ... Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak against the Nationals to 17 games. ... A pair of left-handers start in the series finale Sunday. The last time Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriguez (2-1, 3.91) faced Washington's Gio Gonzalez (2-2, 3.54), it was a 1-0 pitcher's duel won by Gonzalez on April 17, 2012.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
News: Win Total Update - July
Mejia: NL Futures analysis
Mejia: AL Futures analysis
Indians hold off Athletics, 3-1
Rangers walk-off past Yankees, 7-6
Jays knock off Royals, 'under' hits
Reds rip apart Pirates as home 'dogs
Tigers outlast Orioles, 'over' cashes
Brewers deal Gomez to Astros
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
3-0 +357 Yesterday, +1,082 TY
2-0 LN, 8-3 L11, 17-8 +931 L25
5-1, +404 L6 G-Play Streak
5-2 +531 L7, +1,418 This Season
3-1 L4, +1,336 Guarantees TY
4-1 +345 L5 G-Plays, +1,206 TY
5-2 +391 L7, 8-4 L12 Selections
8-4 L12 G-Plays, 46-30 L8 Days
6-2, +486 L8 Guaranteed Plays
9-5 L14 Picks, 13-7 L20 G-Plays
5-2 G-Plays, 14-5 +813 L19 Picks
21-9, +1,305 L30 Guarantees
12-5 L17 G-Plays, 10-5 L15 Picks
6-3 Last 9 Over/Under Plays
6-3 +298 L3 Days, 10-5 +498 L15
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks-
2015 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Pritchard + 1418
Joe Nelson + 1280
John Fisher + 1271
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1681
Dave Cokin + 1363
Michael Black + 1156
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 729
Marc Lawrence + 505
Kyle Hunter + 467
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1388
Joe Nelson + 1336
Chip Chirimbes + 967
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1453
Jimmy Boyd + 1248
Mark Franco + 1159
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1374
Stephen Nover + 670
Jimmy Boyd + 602
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb