Pirates come back to win fourth straight, 3-2

Justin K. Aller

The Pirates won their fourth straight game 3-2 Saturday night, beating the Nationals with a two-run seventh inning capped by an RBI single by Josh Harrison.

Gerrit Cole allowed a solo home run to Ian Desmond in the fourth, but Neil Walker responded in the bottom of the inning by hitting a homer of his own (his tenth of the season) to dead-center against Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals went up 2-1 in a long fifth inning on an RBI single by Wilson Ramos, and from there it looked like the Nationals had the edge, with Cole piling up a hefty pitch count (though pitching well overall) while Strasburg was more efficient.

The Pirates sent Cole back out for the sixth and continued to let him pitch even after he walked Nate McLouth. That made me uneasy, both about the game and about Cole's health. Cole ended up escaping the sixth without damage, but he threw 112 pitches, not a total I'd like to see him approach too frequently this season.

In the seventh, the Pirates finally got to Strasburg. Russell Martin led off with a single, and Starling Marte moved him up to third with a double two batters later. Jose Tabata then drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

Strasburg then intentionally walked Travis Snider. I'm not a huge believer in streaks, but it still seemed a little crazy to intentionally bring up Josh Harrison with runners on in a tie game, and yet that's what the Nationals did. Harrison singled up the middle, and Denard Span threw Snider out on the play, but not before Marte crossed the plate to make it 3-2.

From there, Jeanmar Gomez (pitching because the bullpen was so depleted) came on in the eighth and was the anti-Cole, needing just five pitches to finish a 1-2-3 inning with the help of Ike Davis' defense. Mark Melancon then pitched an easy ninth for the save.

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