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Pirates fall quietly to Nats, 6-0, in Cole's return

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates were shut out 6-0 by the Nationals in Gerrit Cole's return Saturday.

Not much to write home about in this one. Cole went four innings in his first big-league start in over a month, and allowed five runs, four earned, while striking out five and walking two. He took 80 pitches to get through those four frames. Later, Jon Niese pitched two scoreless innings in his first appearance out of the bullpen this season.

Offensively, the Bucs managed just six hits, all singles. The Pirates' two key highlights came on defense. In the first, Anthony Rendon brought home the first run of the game with a single to right, but Starling Marte gunned Bryce Harper down at third. Later in the inning, Clint Robinson hit a deep fly ball to right center with two outs, and Sean Rodriguez ran about a mile (actually, Statcast said it was 105 feet) and made a diving catch.

The Bucs will fight an uphill battle as they try to salvage something from this series Sunday afternoon, when they'll face Max Scherzer.