Errors, walks and hit batsmen doomed the Pirates Saturday afternoon.
The deciding run of the Pirates' 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals at PNC Park reached base when Ryan Zimmerman was hit with a pitch, the third time in the game a Pirate hit a Nationals batter.
The loss evened the series at one game apiece.
Tony Watson hit Zimmerman in the ninth inning with the game tied, 4-4. Zimmerman went to second on Adam LaRoche's single, and the two advanced to second and third on a double steal.
Tyler Moore's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run.
Jeff Locke's outing did not match his previous two, when he did not allow a run in 13 combined innings. He allowed four runs, three earned, in five-plus innings, walking three and striking out three.
Locke's fastball sits in the 89-91 mile per hour range, and he relied on it Saturday. Of the 74 pitches he threw, 61 of them were some form of fastball.
Stephen Strasburg struck out eight Pirates in seven innings of one-run ball.
Clint Barmes' error in the third led to the Nationals' first run. Locke hit Roger Bernadina with a pitch, and Strasburg grounded to short. Barmes' throw went wide, putting runners on first and third.
A strong wind out of left-center field knocked down Ian Desmond's fly ball at the wall, allowing Andrew McCutchen to make the catch, but Bernadina scored to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
The run ended a streak of 15 innings during which Locke had not allowed a run.
Starling Marte's fourth home run erased the Nationals' lead in the third. Barmes singled and took second on Locke's sacrifice bunt before Marte hit a first-pitch fastball out to right-center field.
The Nationals tied the game in the fourth. Zimmerman lined a ball into the left-field corner that bounced off the wall past Marte, and Zimmerman reached third with a triple. LaRoche's sacrifice fly to right made the score 2-2.
Barmes broke the tie in the fifth. Barmes followed a Jordy Mercer single with his first home run of the season, putting a 1-0 fastball into the Nationals' bullpen to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
Clint Hurdle removed Locke after only 74 pitches when a Bryce Harper single and a walk to Zimmerman put two men on with no outs in the sixth. Another lefty, Justin Wilson, entered and walked LaRoche to load the bases.
Wilson struck out Tyler Moore, but allowed a two-run single to Wilson Ramos that tied the game at 4-4.
The Nationals loaded the bases in the seventh with help from Pedro Alvarez's error and two walks from Wilson, but Bryan Morris struck out Moore swinging on a 2-2 curveball to preserve the 4-4 tie.mobilehome - homepage - breaking - pirates
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published May 4, 2013 11:15 PM