Pirates rally to beat Nats 3-2

PITTSBURGH – Josh Harrison had a tiebreaking, two-out single in the seventh inning after Jose Tabata hit a sacrifice fly and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Saturday night for their fourth straight win.

Gerrit Cole left after six innings trailing by a run while facing Stephen Strasburg in the first matchup in the NL of No. 1 overall draft picks in nine years.

But Strasburg (3-4) allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Cole – the top pick of the 2011 draft, two years after Strasburg went first – allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Neil Walker hit his 10th home run for the Pirates, who tied their season-best winning streak.

Jered Hughes (3-1), Jeanmar Gomez and Mark Melancon each worked a perfect inning of relief for Pittsburgh. Melancon picked up his ninth save when he finished the Pirates’ majors-best 14th one-run victory.

Ian Desmond hit his ninth homer for Washington, which has lost six of eight.

The bullpen backed up Cole, who allowed 10 baserunners and threw 112 pitches in six innings, retiring the side in order only once. Still, Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in five May starts by Cole.

Strasburg, who struck out 14 in a memorable major league debut against the Pirates almost four years ago, did not allow a hit Saturday until Walker’s homer to center with one out in the fourth.

Pittsburgh managed just three more singles off Strasburg until the seventh, when Russell Martin led off with a single and went to third on a one-out double by Marte.

Martin and Marte each had two hits. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 for the Nationals.

Pittsburgh goes for the sweep against Washington today at 1:35 p.m.

NOTES: The Mets’ Kris Benson (the No. 1 pick of the 1996 draft) faced Cincinnati’s Paul Wilson (No. 1 overall in 1994) on May 16, 2005 – the most recent occurrence of top picks facing each other in the NL. It happened in the American League two years ago (Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar vs. Tampa Bay’s David Price on Aug. 21, 2012). . 1B Adam LaRoche joined the Nationals in Pittsburgh after LaRoche had a pain-free game in a rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Harrisburg on Friday. LaRoche, on the disabled list since May 10 because of a right quad strain, said he will be activated for Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. . SS Desmond’s homer gives the Nationals 17 this season from their middle infielders, most in the majors. . The crowd of 38,889 was the second sellout of the season at PNC Park. . The four-game series wraps up Sunday when Washington RHP Doug Fister (1-1, 3.93) faces Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano (0-4, 4.86). Despite his record, Pittsburgh has won five of Liriano’s past six starts.