Cole pitches Pirates past Nationals 3-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) Gerrit Cole became the majors' first 14-game winner, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Cole allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings while improving to 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in four July starts. The right-hander struck out eight and walked none.

Cole (14-4) also became the first Pittsburgh pitcher with 14 wins before August since Dock Ellis in 1971.

Danny Espinosa chased Cole with a single that put two runners on for Bryce Harper, who grounded out against left-hander Tony Watson. Mark Melancon picked up his major league-best 32nd save with a scoreless ninth.

Michael Taylor put Washington in front with a two-out homer in the third, but Pittsburgh responded with two runs in the bottom half. Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen each had an RBI single against Joe Ross (2-3).

Neil Walker led off the fourth with his ninth home run, extending Pittsburgh's lead to 3-1.

Ross retired nine in a row before Matt Thornton relieved him in the seventh. He struck out seven and allowed five hits.

Pittsburgh set a PNC Park four-date attendance record by drawing 151,952 fans during the series against NL East-leading Washington.


Nationals: INF Anthony Rendon was out of the lineup after he started Saturday in his first game back from a left quad strain. He singled as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. Rendon played in 18 of 19 games before he suffered the injury, which followed a left knee sprain that delayed the start of his season until June 4. The Nationals plan to limit his workload as he progresses back to playing every day.

Pirates: 3B Josh Harrison played catch and took ground balls. Harrison was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 6 after he tore a ligament in his left thumb.


Nationals: Washington enters the second leg of its 10-game road trip with a three-game slate in Miami. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30 ERA) opens the series against RHP Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77 ERA).

Pirates: Pittsburgh begins a six-game road stint with two games in Minnesota following Monday's off day. RHP Charlie Morton (6-4, 4.59 ERA) makes his first career start against the Twins on Tuesday night, and Minnesota counters with RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-7, 3.94 ERA).