The Nationals defeated the Pirates 3-2 tonight winning their fourth in a row, and are just a game in back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Odalis Perez had his finest start of the year, going 7 full innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits, 0 BB, 4 SO). Both runs came off of solo shots, one from Freddy Sanchez (his first of the year) in the top of the 4th and the other from Ryan Doumit in the 7th.
The Nats rode on the bats of Wil Nieves, who drove two runs on a single in the bottom of the 2nd and Austin Kearns, who broke the 2-2 tie open with an RBI single in the 8th.
The Nationals bullpen continued to roll despite the injury to closer Chad Cordero. Luis Ayala picked up the win, pitching a scoreless 8th, and Jon Rauch notched his 6th save of the season.
Zach Duke pitched well for the Bucs, going 7 full innings and receiving a no-decision (5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO). The loss was charged to John Grabow, his first of the year.
The Official Ryan Zimmerman Watch: 0-4, 2 LOB
By the way, Perez’s ERA is down to a very respectable 3.18 on the season. Not bad at all.