Controversy boils, but Nationals eventually cook Pirates’ goose

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Gerrit Cole holds Sean Rodríguez back from the fray in the third inning. - GETTY

On a long, laborious Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, the Nationals used a three-run first inning and a five-run eighth to put the Pirates' waning playoff chances to bed by a 10-7 count, winning the weekend series as well.

Jayson Werth's two-run home run against former National Felipe Rivero pulled NL East champ Washington (91-64) even in the eighth, followed by Chris Heisey's go-ahead single.

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Washington led 3-0 in the first and 4-3 in the third, but prevailed even after its pitching wobbled, keeping the Pirates 4 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot with seven games to play.

Jung Ho Kang's titanic two-run bomb to left in the seventh had put the Pirates (77-78) in position to claim their second come-from-behind win of the series.

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Kang was also involved in a disagreement between the two clubs that led to a bench-clearing incident in the bottom of the third.