Pirates’ Cole shuts down Nationals in 6-1 victory

PITTSBURGH — Gerrit Cole shut down the best offense in the majors, holding the Washington Nationals to three hits in seven innings to win for the first time in a month as the Pittsburgh Pirates eased to a 6-1 victory Wednesday night.

Cole (2-4) struck out three, walked two and received an overdue dose of support when Josh Bell smacked a three-run home run in the sixth off Jacob Turner (2-2). Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and also stole two bases for Pittsburgh.

Turner cruised through the first five innings in his second start of the year, but ran into trouble in the sixth. A walk and a hit batter brought up Bell, who sent a pitch into the right field stands.

Brian Goodwin had an RBI double for the Nationals. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, who began the day with the top two batting averages in the majors, combined to go 0 for 8.

Save for a bumpy opening day in Boston, Cole has dominated. He came in with a 2.08 ERA in his last six starts, but had just one win to show for it thanks to an offense that averages just 2.5 runs when he’s on the mound.

Turner pitched into the sixth inning in the majors for just the second time since 2014, and Pittsburgh finally got going. John Jaso walked leading off the sixth and Turner then hit David Freese with one out. Bell drove a 3-1 offering 398 feet for his eighth homer, the most by a rookie in the National League.

The Pirates added on in the seventh, with McCutchen’s drive to the wall in right scoring two and giving the five-time All-Star a bit of redemption a night after being pulled as part of a double switch in the eighth with Pittsburgh down just two runs.

Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco was put on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left groin, retroactive to May 15. Pittsburgh called up OF Danny Ortiz from Triple-A Indianapolis. Ortiz made his major league debut as a defensive replacement in the seventh and walked in his first career at-bat.

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