Nationals' bats spark 6-3 win over Pirates

Morse's three hits part of Washington's season-high 15

April 25, 2011|By The Washington Post

PITTSBURGH — — Michael Morse, who had struggled early in the season after winning the left-field job in spring training, went 3-for-4 with his first home run of the season, a three-run blast in the third inning, to lift the Washington Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday and back to .500 for the season.

The Nationals provided a break from their offensive stagnancy, piling up a season-high 15 hits and scoring more runs than they had in their three previous games combined. None of those hits came from right fielder Jayson Werth, who went 0-for-5 with a strikeout just as it seemed, after a home run Saturday, he might be breaking out. Werth did, however, assist on the game's final out by throwing out Andrew McCutchen, whose questionable decision to tag up enabled Werth to show off his right arm.

Still at least a week away from the return of Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals, if they want to keep holding down the fort, need many members of its slumping lineup to snap out of funks. Morse might be in the middle of doing that. After Sunday's three-hit performance, Morse is on a 10-for-24 roll and has raised his average to .259 — second highest among Nationals regulars.

"It would be huge," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "You look at the averages right now, and it's not real good. We don't have a ton of guys on base. I don't think you're ever going to have everybody clicking at once, but we could have the majority of guys get going."

Morse's homer, a blast deep into the left-field bleachers, came on a 2-1 fastball from Kevin Correia and helped Jason Marquis earn his second victory of the season.

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