Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/8/12

This was one of those insane games that shows you why baseball is amazing, always unpredictable, and sometimes just downright hilarious.

The game started out as an excellent pitcher’s duel. A.J. Burnett was back on top of his game after that nightmare of an outing in St. Louis. Other than a Wilson Ramos solo shot on an elevated first-pitch fastball and a run in the fourth following Bryce Harper‘s leadoff double, Burnett was excellent. The Nationals were fooled by his breaking ball all night, so he just kept on throwing it like crazy. A.J. was fooling the Nats so easily that he struck out 10 and managed to go 8 innings without cracking 100 pitches. Great to see.

Edwin Jackson was solid for the Nats as well. He allowed just three hits in seven strong innings of work….but two of those hits were solo homers. One was by Andrew McCutchen — his first of the year, and a towering blast off the green wall behind the bullpen. The other was a bomb by Garrett Jones. It wasn’t a great night for the Pirate offense, but in uncharacteristic fashion they made up for it with the long ball.

With the game still tied 2-2 in the eighth, Nate McLouth drew a pinch hit walk on a questionable 3-2 check swing call. The Bucs called for a hit and run, and Jose Tabata poked one up the middle that eluded the shortstop to put men at the corners. Neil Walker hit a sac fly to give the Bucs the lead, and it was Hammer time.

Hammer time didn’t go as planned, which had to be especially frustrating for Joel against his former club. Ryan Zimmerman lined a ball to left that McLouth couldn’t handle, and our old buddy Adam LaRoche took Joel deep to center to put the Nats in front. Unreal. LaRoche has actually been good early on this year, and tonight was his first game back into the lineup after missing some time with an injury. Devastating moment for Pirate fans.

It seemed like a lost cause, but the bottom of the Bucs’ order had to go to work in the bottom of the ninth off Nats fireballer Henry Rodriguez.  Alex Presley came up big with a 1-out pinch hit single, though, and moved all the way to third on two wild pitches. Yamaico Navarro had a big chance to tie it, but whiffed on high heat. That brought up everybody’s favorite Pirate, Rod Barajas.

Barajas had been booed all night, and has obviously been horrific all year.  But not this time. He knew Rodriguez would come with a fastball after bouncing those two straight breaking balls, and destroyed the first pitch into the bleachers for his first Bucco blast and a walkoff win.  Just unbelievable.

I also need to give big-time props to mvela06 from the live chat – he called a Barajas 2-run walkoff homer multiple times throughout the game, as early as the third inning! How crazy is that?! Call him up next time you play the lottery!

Pirates 5, Nats 4 / Box / 2012 Record: 13-16 / Next: Wednesday, vs. Nationals, 7:05

MVP: Barajas (+.766) / LVP: Hanrahan (-.678) / Key play: The walkoff

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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