Pirates go for elusive series sweep against Nationals

MLB

The Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Washington Nationals aren’t marquee teams this year. However, they certainly have made things interesting through the first two games of their series.

Friday, the Pirates (52-90) pulled out a 4-3 walk-off win. Saturday, Pittsburgh pulled out a wild 10-7 victory over the Nationals (58-84) in a game that featured 19 hits, 15 walks, three homers and 11 pitchers.

Who knows what might be in store for the series finale Sunday?

There is one bit of built-in drama. Pittsburgh will be going for a sweep. Again.

The Pirates are the only team in the major leagues who have not swept an opponent. They have been on the cusp 12 times, most recently Thursday against Detroit.

Pittsburgh, which trailed 5-2 at one point Saturday, has come from behind to win after being down by three runs or more nine times. According to AT&T Sportsnet, that is the most times in the major leagues. It accounts for nearly one in six of the club’s wins this season.

“That’s just kind of who we are as guys. We never think we’re out of it and just keep playing,” said Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds, who homered and had three RBIs Saturday.

Pittsburgh has won four of its past five games.

The Nationals have dropped three in a row.

Washington’s plight lately can’t be pinned on outfielder Juan Soto, who is 20-for-51 (.392) with 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored over his past 15 games.

Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz left Saturday’s game after being hit by a pitch on the left ear flap of his helmet.

“He has a headache,” said manager Dave Martinez, adding that X-rays showed no breaks.

In the series finale, Washington left-hander Patrick Corbin (7-14, 6.14 ERA) is expected to start against Pittsburgh right-hander Bryse Wilson (2-6, 4.60).

Monday against the New York Mets, Corbin did not get a decision despite a relatively strong start — three runs and 11 hits in seven innings, with four strikeouts and one walk.

Still, going 2-8 in his past 12 starts has him frustrated.

“I don’t know,” Corbin said of an answer. “I’m diving in(to) numbers all the time, trying to look at stuff to try to find a way to get better, to turn this around, and it just stinks. It just hasn’t been working.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to go out there and have success. It’s just not working, so it’s been a tough year for a lot of us here. It’s frustrating.”

Corbin is 3-2 with a 3.19 ERA in nine career starts against Pittsburgh. However, perhaps facing the Pirates can be helpful. As a member of the Nationals, he is 2-0 with a 0.77 ERA with four walks and 22 strikeouts in three career starts against them.

Wilson is still looking for his first win since joining the Pirates in a trade July 30 from the Braves. He is 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA in six starts in a Pittsburgh uniform.

His last outing, Monday against Detroit, he did not get a decision despite turning in a quality start as he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, with two walks and four strikeouts.

Wilson has faced Washington once, a relief appearance last year while with Atlanta. He gave up two runs and four hits in one inning.

–Field Level Media

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