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Nationals Bats Go Quiet Again in Loss to Pirates

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Bryce Harper is tagged out trying to steal second base in the first inning by Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on July 23, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper is tagged out trying to steal second base in the first inning by Neil Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on July 23, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — Gerrit Cole pitched seven strong innings to end a personal three-game losing streak, and added an RBI single as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Pedro Alvarez homered and singled, and Russell Martin had three hits for Pittsburgh, which has won three straight.

Wilson Ramos homered for Washington, which had just three hits. The Nationals have lost five straight and 10 of 12.

Cole (5-3) turned in the best outing of his young career, allowing a run on two hits in his eighth career start.

Washington’s Taylor Jordan (0-3) allowed five runs, four earned, in 7 2-3 innings in his fifth career start.

The Pirates were without closer Jason Grilli, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a right forearm strain.

After allowing the homer to Ramos in the third, Cole retired 15 of the last 16 hitters he faced against a Washington team playing its first game in front of new hitting coach Rick Schu.

The right-hander, who walked one and hit a batter while striking out four, accumulated as many hits at the plate — going 2 for 3 — as he allowed.

Pittsburgh broke on top 3-0 in the second. After Alvarez and Martin singled, Garrett Jones walked to load the bases with no outs. Neil Walker, in his first game back from the disabled list, grounded into a fielder’s choice. Jones was out at second while Alvarez scored.

Jordy Mercer then hit a potential double-play grounder to third, but Ryan Zimmerman’s throw was dropped by Anthony Rendon at second. All runners were safe as Martin scored. Cole then hit with runners on first and second and, after showing bunt, swung and grounded a single between third and short to score Walker.

Washington got a run back when Ramos led off the third with his fifth home run of the year, a shot to center just beyond the reach of a leaping Andrew McCutcheon.

The Pirates added some insurance with two outs in the eighth. After Alvarez homered to make it 4-1, Martin singled. Martin then stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Ramos, and scored on a double by pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez.

NOTES: To make room for Walker, who had been on the disabled list since July 7 with right side soreness, Pittsburgh designated veteran infielder Brandon Inge for assignment. Inge appeared in 50 games, hitting .181 with a homer and seven RBIs. . To take Grilli’s roster spot, the Pirates will recall right-hander Vic Black from Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s 1-2 with 15 saves and a 2.31 ERA. . Washington manager Davey Johnson said LHP Ross Detwiler, on the DL since July 7, will meet with a back specialist in Los Angeles Wednesday regarding his strained lower-back muscle. . Schu had been serving as minor league hitting coordinator before being tabbed Monday to replace Rick Eckstein, who was fired. . Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (9-4, 2.44) opposes Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.97) Wednesday night.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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