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Harrison’s two-run shot off Gonzalez in the sixth _ his first homer of 2013 _ pulled Pittsburgh within 4-3. But the Nationals added insurance off Vin Mazzaro in the eighth on Lombardozzi’s RBI ground-rule double and Adam LaRoche’s two-run triple to make it 7-3.

Wasn’t enough. Nothing seems to be lately for Washington, which led the majors with 98 wins last year but entered Thursday 48-53 and a season-high nine games behind NL East leader Atlanta.

Johnson left the game when he came out of the dugout while Desmond was arguing a called third strike. Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle got ejected in the seventh after Alvarez was thrown out at first while veering too far toward second base after a single.

It was that kind of game.

During their previous 13 games, Washington scored four or more runs _ not in an inning, but in an entire game _ only three times, never putting up more than five. That, in a nutshell, is why Washington lost 11 of those 13 games.

Burnett wound up going seven innings, not allowing another run.

NOTES: The last time the Nationals produced four runs in an inning was the fifth on July 7, during an 11-7 victory over the Padres. … Pirates RHP Vic Black made his major league debut, entering with two outs in the eighth. … Gonzalez’s 11 strikeouts equaled his career high. … The Pirates open a three-game series at Miami on Friday, with Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (9-2, 2.11) starting against RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 3.28).

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich