PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals stuck with their ace. Nike Zoom Scontate . The Pirates made them pay. Josh Harrison had a tiebreaking, two-out single two batters after Jose Tabata hit a sacrifice fly off of Stephen Strasburg in the seventh inning, and Pittsburgh handed Washington its fourth straight defeat, 3-2 Saturday night. 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 Walkers homer to centre 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 Starling Marte before scoring on the sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Tabata. "(Strasburg) pitched very well," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "Of course, they got to him in that last inning but I want to give him a chance to get out of there with a tie game. He was still strong. Hes our ace, hes deserves a chance to get out of it and it didnt work out." Gerrit Cole left after six innings trailing by a run while facing Strasburg in the first matchup in the NL of No. 1 overall draft picks in nine years. Cole -- the top pick of the 2011 draft, two years after Strasburg went first -- allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. Strasburg (3-4) allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Strasburg insisted he wasnt losing his stuff as he crossed the 100-pitch plateau in the seventh. "My command was still pretty good," he said. "I got a pitch in on Martin and he dumped it into the outfield. I tried to pitch around a couple of guys. The pitch that killed me was the hanging curveball to Marte. That really set up the inning for them." Of the Harrison at-bat, Strasburg said: "Hes the type of hitter whos going to put the ball in play and he put it in the right place." Harrison followed pinch-hitter Travis Snider, whom the Nationals intentionally walked after Strasburg fell behind 2-0. "I was pretty much telling myself, I feel like Im seeing everything hes throwing," Harrison said of his seventh-inning at bat against Stephen Strasburg. "I was just looking to barrel something up." Neil Walker hit his 10th home run for the Pirates, who tied their season-best winning streak of four. 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 (24-25), which has lost six of eight and fell under .500 for the first time this season. "Its tough -- were all trying very hard, trying to get back on track," Strasburg said. "I do think weve probably reached the point where were trying too hard and need to take a step back and let the game come to us." 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. Wilson Ramos sawed-off, bloop single in the sixth scored Anthony Rendon to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Greg Dobbs went 2 for 4 for the Nationals. NOTES: The Mets Kris Benson (the No. 1 pick of the 1996 draft) faced Cincinnatis 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 Citys Luke Hochevar vs. Tampa Bays David Price on Aug. 21, 2012). . 1B Adam LaRoche joined the Nationals in Pittsburgh and will be activated for Sundays game. Infielder Zach Walters was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after Saturdays game to make room for LaRoche, who has been on the disabled list since May 10 because of a right quad strain. ... SS Desmonds homer gives the Nationals 17 this season from their middle infielders, most in the majors. . 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 Lirianos past six starts. Scarpe Zoom Scontate . However, the intensity and physicality that has characterized the postseason so far has caught Gretzky by surprise. "Its a little bit risqué right now," Gretzky told Philadelphia radio station 97. Nike Zoom Outlet Italia .Y. - Geno Smith shouted a couple of mighty expensive expletives. http://www.nikezoomscontate.it/ . -- Kyrie Irvings last-minute 3-pointer helped seal another victory for Cleveland -- and the Cavaliers longest winning streak since LeBron James left.TORONTO – Its been a bad week for a good bullpen. Starter Drew Hutchison left after six innings with a 3-2 lead, only to watch as three Blue Jays relievers collapsed in the seventh, leading to five Baltimore runs. The Orioles wouldnt look back; in fact they would tack on, winning the game 11-4 and the series, two out of three. It was Brett Cecils turn on Thursday night. Having not allowed a run in eight-and-two-thirds innings of work this season, Cecil entered with one out and a runner on second in the seventh. He walked Nick Markakis and, after a double steal, intentionally walked Nelson Cruz. Chris Davis slapped a two-run single to left field to give Baltimore the lead. After an Adam Jones RBI double, Cecils night was over. In the end, he faced four hitters, each of whom reached base and each of whom scored. “I didnt feel like I had a good feel for anything,” said Cecil. “I was pulling my cutters and curveballs were up. Not as sharp. I thought I made a good pitch to Davis, hit the glove, hit it where (Dioner Navarro) had it and it was two or three inches off the plate. Terrible swing, but he did exactly what he was supposed to with the shift on, just a soft ground ball.” A week ago Thursday in Minneapolis, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos and J.A. Happ cratered in the eighth inning, walking a historic eight hitters while allowing six runs on just one hit and three wild pitches. The ordeal turned a 5-3 Toronto lead into a 9-5 deficit. Aaron Loup walked the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Sundays game in Cleveland. A David Murphy bases-clearing double later and the Jays 4-2 lead was erased. The Indians didnt look back in a 6-4 victory. On Wednesday, Todd Redmond was rocked trying to protect a 6-3 lead in the fifth. In Redmonds defence, he inherited a bases loaded, none out situation against the top of the Orioles lineup. Baltimore scored six times, total, in the inning and won the game 10-8. The bullpens overall numbers arent pretty in the last seven games: 23 2/3 innings pitched, 22 earned runs, 23 hits and 24 walks. Manager John Gibbons isnt panicking. “I dont think it snowballs, at least it hasnt yet,” he said. “There are going to be some blips every now and then. I still think our bullpen stacks up as good as anybody out there. We have some key go-to guys. We had a chance to close it down there, at least get out of that inning, Davis snuck that ball through. But, no, Im not really worried about the bullpen.” Theres already chatter, less than a month into the season, about whether the bullpen is fraying under the weight of the demand on its arms. Blue Jays starters dont get deep into games often enough. Factor in Toronto relievers threw 552 2/3 innings last season, third most in baseball, and at some point, fatigue will become a problem. “I believe in that,” said Gibbons. “Over time you look at it, a lot of times its year to year. Guys that have good years and theyre used a lot one year, its usually somewhat of an off year the next year and then they bounce back. Thats kind of, just generally, the way baseball goes. Bullpens get used a lot, I dont care whether youre good or bad, in this day and age, its just baseball because its mainly a lot of one-inning guys nowadays, specialists, so they get used a lot, but thats just the way it goes. You have to be durable down there and you have to take your slumps down there sometimes. But it can definitely catch up with you, but its too early in the season to think that has anything to do with it.” One reason for optimism: its been a different guy getting beat each night. Delabar and Santos in Minneapolis, Loup against the Indians, Redmond one night against Baltimore and Cecil the next. The collective result has been abysmal of late but the individual issues have been one offs. The Jays had better hope these are, in fact, one-offs. Otherwise, a trends begun which threatens a relatively hopeful start to the year. GIBBONS CONSIDERS SIX-MAN ROTATION Drew Hutchisons six innings of work on Thursday night marked just the 10th time in 22 games a Blue Jays starter went that long. The starting rotations troubling early trend, combined with this weeks post-game admissions by R.A. Dickey and Dustin McGowan to feeling fatigue by the fifth or sixth inning, has manager John Gibbons considering his options with the schedule about to get busy. Afteer Mondays off day, before a three-game series in Kansas City, Toronto will have only one off until June 2. Nike Zoom Scontate Italia. A six-man rotation could be implemented. “Weve even talked about because May, its jammed up, creating our own off day, maybe just spot-starting someone in there; maybe Happ or something,” said Gibbons. The first date a sixth man would be used is the Sunday, May 3 finale of a three-game series in Pittsburgh. J.A. Happ isnt the only option. Marcus Stroman, who along with Aaron Sanchez is the organizations top pitching prospect, is off to a fine start for Triple-A Buffalo. In three starts hes posted a 2.18 ERA and 26 strikeouts against six walks in 20 2/3 innings. Stromans hit total is high, hes allowed 22, but most of those runners arent scoring. Gibbons mused that a six-man rotation could be implemented on multiple occasions leading up to the All-Star Break. This is a reaction to Wednesdays comments by McGowan, who admitted publicly to feeling fatigued in the fifth inning when, with a 6-3 lead, he walked Ryan Flaherty, gave up a single to Jonathan Schoop and hit David Lough with a pitch. McGowan was lifted for Todd Redmond, who promptly coughed up the lead. McGowan hadnt complained about fatigue to Gibbons or anyone else. His comments to the assembled media were the first the manager had heard about it, which led to a conversation between the two in Gibbonss office on Thursday. “I was curious what he had to say,” said manager John Gibbons. “He says he feels great. I guess he just answered questions or something (Wednesday) night brutally honest. Hell make his next start and well see what happens. “The thing is, I think his stamina is fine,” continued Gibbons. “He said he ran out of gas, but if you leave him in there, I guarantee you he can throw 90 to 100 pitches. Its just do you leave him in there or not. Thats my decision.” The Blue Jays continue to monitor McGowan and Brandon Morrow closely. While their respective situations are different, both have extensive injury histories. McGowan insists his arm is okay, which offers hope that his fatigue may subside if his body can adjust to the rigours of pitching every fifth day. Remember, a stomach virus shortened McGowans spring. Whats more, he hasnt been a regular starting pitcher in six years. “Weve told him, if somethings bothering you, it doesnt feel right in your arm simply because of what youve been through, let us know and hes guaranteed hell let us know,” said Gibbons. “But I think, (Wednesday) night, he was just brutally honest with you. And I kind of like that.” GIBBONS TALKS PINEDA AND PINE TAR Blue Jays manager John Gibbons believes his Red Sox counterpart, John Farrell, had no choice but to ask the umpires to check Yankees starter Michael Pineda for an illegal substance in the game between Boston and New York on Wednesday night. “You almost had to,” said Gibbons. “If you dont ask, everybodys looking at you. Youd catch heat for that.” Pineda was found with pine tar on the right side of his neck. He was ejected and on Thursday he was given a 10-game suspension. Gibbons asked the umpires to check the inside of Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalezs glove in the fifth inning of Tuesday nights game. They found nothing. “Well, you want to make sure if you do it, youre right and we werent right,” said Gibbons. “So were 0-4 with appeals and 0-1 on checking on the pitcher. Its got to get better, doesnt it?” Its generally accepted that pitchers use foreign substances, typically sprays, to improve their grip on the baseball. Gibbons believes the Pineda incident, especially considering the same substance was thought to be on his hand in a start earlier this season, is different. “I still have a hard time believing pine tar (is) not making the ball do something,” said Gibbons. “Its for your grip but its a heavier substance, so its something thats going to affect, if the wind hits that thing, its got to do something.” FRIENDLY TRAFFIC REMINDER If youre coming to Rogers Centre this weekend to see the Blue Jays take on the Red Sox, keep in mind the Gardiner Expressway closes for spring maintenance at 10 oclock Friday night. It doesnt reopen until 12-noon on Sunday. Its best to plan an alternate route or method of transportation if youre traveling into Toronto. ' ' '