Marte lead Pirates to 2-0 victory over Nationals

Starling Marte did not start any of the first three games of July because Pirates manager Clint Hurdle felt his slumping center fielder needed a mental break.

The strategy worked, even if Marte still doesn’t agree with it.

Marte hit a two-run home run and Trevor Williams combined with four relievers on a five-hitter as Pittsburgh beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Wednesday.

Marte homered to deep center field, his 11th, with two outs in the third off Gio Gonzalez after Jordy Mercer led off the inning with wholesale nfl jerseys the first of his two doubles. That was enough to give the Pirates just their third win in nine games.

Gonzalez (6-6) remained winless since May 28 despite allowing just two runs, six hits and one walk while striking out four. The left-hander is 0-4 in his past eight starts.

Though disappointed by the outcome, Gonzalez was heartened by his performance.

Lauer didn’t quite go the distance, coming within one out of his first career complete game before allowing Max Muncy’s home run. Manager Andy Green decided the 115-pitch performance was enough. Kirby Yates came on and struck out All-Star Matt Kemp to seal the Padres’ 4-1 victory Tuesday night.

Green said he wanted Lauer to experience the emotion of going out for the ninth. After Muncy’s home run, Green said Lauer at least deserved a conversation before the manager decided that the rookie, backed by home runs by Wil Myers and Austin Hedges, had done enough.

He knows those feelings. Hopefully those feelings push him the next time he’s out there. One more out to get the next time. Can’t leave that out in front of you. I thought he was great all the way through, Green said.

It was cool to experience that, Lauer said. I haven’t experienced it yet. It was my first time so hopefully I’ll get to experience it more. … That’s big for a starting pitcher. You don’t get there too often. To know what’s going to happen, how it will feel, it will start to feel like just another inning, hopefully.

Lauer (5-5) took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning after having thrown 101 pitches. He got Enrique Hernandez to fly out to center and Justin Turner to fly out to deep left before Muncy drove a 1-1 pitch into the seats in left, his 21st.