PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Palacios hit a two-run homer against his former team, Bailey Falter pitched six efficient innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Palacios gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead in the second with his eighth home run, a 410-foot shot to the bullpen in center field. Palacios played 29 games for the Nationals last season, but Pittsburgh picked him up in the December minor league Rule 5 draft.
Falter (2-8) allowed one run and four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in his first start since Aug. 27. He threw 44 of 67 pitches for strikes.
The left-hander improved to 2-1 in eight games, five starts, with Pittsburgh since being acquired from Philadelphia at the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Palacios, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jack Suwinski and Endy Rodríguez each had two hits for the Pirates, who have nine wins in their last 14 games. Pittsburgh won this one despite going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranding 15 overall.
Washington issued four intentional walks — two to Suwinski.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the third and fourth, but came up empty both times. They loaded the bases again and broke through with two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh.
Rodríguez opened the fifth with a double and scored on Miguel Andujar’s single. Andujar later scored on a groundout by Bryan Reynolds to give Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead. Hayes drove in Alika Williams with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Joan Adon (2-2) lasted four innings for the Nationals. He allowed four runs and eight hits with four strikeouts and six walks.
In his previous two road starts, Adon took no-hitters into the sixth.
Ildemaro Vargas and Joey Meneses each had two hits for Washington.
The Nationals scored in the fourth when Vargas singled home Keibert Ruiz.
The Pirates confirmed Oneil Cruz won’t return this season. The 25-year-old shortstop broke his left ankle in early April on an awkward slide into home plate against the Chicago White Sox.
The four-game series continues Wednesday. Neither team had announced a starting pitcher.