Pirates rough up Livan Hernandez, beat Nationals

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell expected Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones, two of the few non-rookies in his lineup, to break out of their slumps sooner or later.

They did it Friday night.

Doumit had three hits, including a home run, and two RBIs, and Jones drove in three runs to lead the Pirates to an 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

"They're both the kind of hitters who are going to have some down times," Russell said. "But they're also good major league hitters. You know at some point they'll hit."

Doumit had been hitting just .215 in 20 games being activated from the disabled list Aug. 7 after missing 15 games with a concussion. He got a rare start at catcher with most of his action in recent weeks coming in right field while Chris Snyder took over as the starter behind the plate. Doumit is hitting .281 when he is catching but .175 when he plays other positions.

Jones, mired in a 7-for-50 slump coming in and batting .144 in 31 games since July 28, doubled home two runs in a three-run third inning that put the Pirates ahead 3-1 and added an RBI double in a four-run fifth that pushed the lead to 8-1.

"It just felt good to hit a couple of balls hard again, especially with runners in scoring position," Jones said. "The most frustrating part when you're slumping is that you know you're not helping the team. It feels really good to get a couple of big hits that helped result in a win that we needed."

The Pirates won for just the second time in seven games while handing Washington its third straight loss.

Pittsburgh's three rookie regulars also made contributions as Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run double in the fifth, Jose Tabata had two hits and two RBIs and Neil Walker extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

Zach Duke (7-12) pitched five innings for the win and left after failing to retire any of the four batters he faced in the sixth inning as Washington scored four runs to close to 8-5. He allowed four runs and five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Joel Hanrahan, the seventh Pirates pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth for his third save in six opportunities. He was twice removed as the Nationals' closer last season before being traded to Pittsburgh on June 30.

"I still know most of the guys over there and I'm sure I'll get some messages," Hanrahan said with a smile.

Livan Hernandez (9-10) was hit hard in his first start since signing a one-year contract extension with the Nationals last Sunday. He gave up eight hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out four.

Danny Espinosa hit his first major-league home run and also doubled for Washington. Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman had two hits apiece.

Washington center fielder Nyjer Morgan went 0-for-4 after learning he had been suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball for inciting a bench-clearing brawl on Wednesday night at Florida. Morgan appealed and is able to keep playing until his hearing on Sept. 10. He has also appealed a seven-game suspension from Aug. 25 for throwing a ball at a fan during a game at Philadelphia.

Espinosa opened the scoring with a drive into the right-field stands to lead off the top of the third.

"I didn't know if the ball was going to go out and when it did go out, it was the greatest feeling you could imagine," Espinosa said.

The Pirates countered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Ronny Cedeno led off with a double and scored on Andrew McCutchen's sacrifice fly. Jones then put Pittsburgh ahead with a two-out, two-run double to left.

Doumit homered to center field, his 12th, to open the fourth, and the Pirates made it 8-1 with four runs in the fifth. Jones doubled in a run and Alvarez followed with a two-run double off the top of the center-field fence that chased Hernandez. Doumit greeted reliever Miguel Batista with an RBI single.

The Nationals knocked out Duke during a four-run sixth. Adam Dunn and Justin Maxwell hit RBI singles and a run scored on a double play before Espinosa doubled home a run to cap the inning.

Bench coach John McLaren ran the Nationals as manager Jim Riggleman began serving a two-game suspension for his part in Wednesday's fight.

Game notes
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who struck out 92 batters in 68 innings and 14 starts in his rookie season, underwent reconstructive elbow surgery on Friday at Inglewood, Calif., and likely won't return to Washington's rotation until the start of the 2012 season. ... The Nationals activated right-hander Garrett Mock from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. Left fielder Josh Willingham was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day DL. Mock made one start on April 10 before undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured cervical disc in his neck. ... Pittsburgh first baseman Jeff Clement, suffered a strained oblique muscle during his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis and could miss the rest of the season. He is on the DL with left knee irritation.