WASHINGTON – Ryan Drese pitched eight strong innings, Wil Cordero hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly for his first RBI of the season and the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Tuesday night for their 15th victory in 17 home games.

Drese (2-1), who allowed five runs and eight hits over three innings at Pittsburgh on June 21, won a pitchers’ duel against Josh Fogg (4-4), winless in five starts since defeating Florida on June 1.

Acquired on waivers from Texas on June 10, Drese gave up one run and five hits in eight innings with four strikeouts and no walks.

Washington has the best home record in the major leagues at 27-10 and is 15-6 overall in one-run games since May 8.

Chad Cordero pitched a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 26th save, his 23rd straight. He tied the franchise record for consecutive saves set by Montreal’s Mel Rojas in 1996.

Fogg allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits in six innings. He was victimized by his own wildness in the fourth, when he hit a batter and committed a costly throwing error on a sacrifice bunt.

Jason Bay had three hits for the Pirates, who have lost three of four and 11 of 15.

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the first when Daryle Ward’s bloop single to left scored Bay, who reached on a two-out, ground-rule double to center.

A hit batsman and an error by Fogg helped the Nationals take a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Fogg plunked Jose Guillen on the hand with a pitch, then walked Vinny Castilla. Fogg fielded Marlon Byrd’s bunt near the third-base line and threw wildly to third as Guillen scored and Castilla took third.

Wil Cordero, starting in place of injured first baseman Nick Johnson and making only his second start in the field this season, followed with a tiebreaking flyout to right. Cordero is batting just .036 (1-for-28) this season.

Drese worked out of a jam in the seventh after he allowed a leadoff double to Rob Mackowiak and hit Ryan Doumit with a pitch. Jose Castillo bounced into a shortstop-to-home fielder’s choice, Jack Wilson struck out and pinch-hitter Tike Redman hit an inning-ending grounder.

Notes: Pittsburgh placed LHP Oliver Perez on the 15-day DL with a broken left big toe and recalled OF Nate McLouth from Triple-A Indianapolis. … Bay had his team-high 27th multihit game. … Washington played without Johnson (bruised right heel) and OF Ryan Church (left shoulder bruise). … Nationals RHP T.J. Tucker underwent ligament replacement surgery in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. Dr. James Andrews also removed a bone spur from Tucker’s elbow. Tucker is expected to return in mid-2006.

AP-ES-06-28-05 2124EDT


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