Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/10/12

The Pirates missed a chance to pick up an unlikely win (and sweep), as the long ball eventually did them in on Thursday night.

The Kevin Correia vs. Stephen Strasburg matchup went better-than-expected for the Bucs early on. Strasburg was his usual filthy self the first time through the Pirate lineup – after Jose Tabata led off with a single, Alex Presley hit into a DP and then Strasburg K’d seven in a row. The next time around, though, Tabata singled again, Presley bunted him to second, Andrew McCutchen singled him home, and Neil Walker singled McCutchen home (since Cutch had moved to second on Bryce Harper‘s ill-advised throw). 2-0 Bucs, despite the fact that Strasburg was still striking them out at a ridiculous rate.

Correia obviously didn’t do it with the K, but he was effective early on. Kevin went seven innings and put up zeroes in six of them–problem was, the Nats pounded him for two homers in the sixth. Roger Bernadina hit his first of the year, and after a walk, Adam LaRoche hit his second go-ahead two run shot in three days. They were bad pitches by Correia and certainly devastating in a low-scoring game like this one, but it’s tough to expect your fifth starter to go out and toss seven scoreless. It wasn’t a bad outing.

Unlike Tuesday night, the Pirates couldn’t respond to LaRoche’s blast. Strasburg walked three in a row with two outs in the seventh, but got Garrett Jones to swing through his heat to end the threat. That was the only other real chance the Bucs mounted for the rest of the night. Strasburg finished with 13 K’s (a ridiculously impressive number, but not the least bit surprising), and the Nats’ bullpen finished things up relatively easily. Chris Resop allowed a solo shot to Rick Ankiel in the top of the ninth, giving the Nats the 4-2 advantage they finished with.

The sweep would have been great, but when it comes down to it, Strasburg outpitched Correia and you can’t really be frustrated with that outcome. For a while it looked like Kevin would shut down the cold National bats, but they woke up just enough to salvage the final game of the series.

Nationals 4, Pirates 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 14-17 / Next: Friday, vs. Astros, 7:05

MVP: McCutchen (+.115) / LVP: Jones (-.207) / Key play: LaRoche’s HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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