Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The depleted Nats face the Pirates tonight at PNC Park.
Jim Riggleman, however, will not be managing tonight as he begins to serve his two-game suspension. Bench coach John McLaren will fill in as manager. Third base coach Pat Listach will begin serving his suspension Sunday.
Danny Espinosa gets his first big-league start tonight, playing second base and batting eighth. With left-hander Zach Duke on the mound for the Pirates, Roger Bernadina takes a seat and is replaced in left field by Justin Maxwell.
Check back for updates throughout the evening...
NATIONALS at PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
LF Justin Maxwell
2B Danny Espinosa
P Livan Hernandez
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Jose Tabata
2B Neil Walker
1B Garrett Jones
3B Pedro Alvarez
C Ryan Doumit
RF John Bowker
SS Ronny Cedeno
P Zach Duke
7:25 p.m. -- We're through 1 1/2 innings here at PNC Park, no score yet. Ryan Zimmerman has the lone hit: a two-out double in the first. Otherwise, nothing doing for the Nats against Zach Duke. Livan Hernandez, meanwhile, retired the side in the bottom of the first.
7:38 p.m. -- Danny Espinosa's third career at-bat results in his first career homer. The rookie second baseman crushed a 1-1 pitch from Zach Duke the other way, depositing it into the right-field bleachers to put the Nats up 1-0 in the third.
7:52 p.m. -- The Pirates have tied it up in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff double from Ronny Cedeno, followed by a sac bunt and a sac fly. Now 1-1 in the third.
8:00 p.m. -- If you haven't read it yet, I've got the full, updated story on all the suspensions (with quotes from Nyjer Morgan, Jim Riggleman and Mike Rizzo) on CSNwashington.com.
8:02 p.m. -- The Pirates aren't letting up on Livo. A two-out rally in the third has produced two more runs. Jose Tabata singled, Neil Walker walked and Garrett Jones doubled both guys home to put the Bucs on top 3-1.
9:16 p.m. -- Sorry for the lack of updates tonight. Was scrambling to write the Morgan and Strasburg news, then spent the last few innings in the stands. We just completed the sixth inning of what has become a wild ballgame. The Pirates lead 8-5, but it was 8-1 after the fifth. Livan Hernandez got tagged for all eight runs and lasted only 4 1/3 innings. The Nats, though, got four runs back in the sixth off Zach Duke, including an RBI double from Danny Espinosa. The kid has looked good so far. In parts of two games, he's now 3-for-5 with a homer and a double. Each of his hits has scored a run.
9:37 p.m. -- Ooh, we've got a Sean Burnett-Lastings Milledge face-off. And Burnett gets Milledge to tap a comebacker to end the seventh. Clearly, Mike Rizzo got the better of Neal Huntington in that half of the trade. Nyjer vs. Hanrahan? Still up for debate. Pirates still lead 8-5 as we go to the eighth.
9:56 p.m. -- Big chance for Espinosa to really turn this into a memorable game, but the rookie struck out swinging at a 3-2 fastball from Chris Resop to end the top of the eighth with runners on first and second. So it remains 8-5 headed to the bottom of the eighth.
10:04 p.m. -- Well, this is probably what you wanted to see all night: Top of the ninth, Nats trailing by three and Joel Hanrahan entering from the Pirates bullpen in a save situation. Hold onto your hats.
10:09 p.m. -- And Hanrahan strikes out Zimmerman to earn his third save in six tries. Nats lose 8-5. That trade looks pretty even right now: Two good relievers, two struggling outfielders.