Gerrit Cole got back to his winning ways Tuesday night. And he did so in dominant fashion. Cole allowed just two hits over seven innings as he paced the Pirates to a 5-1 victory against the Nationals at Nationals Park. After winning his first four career starts, Cole lost three in a row heading into his outing Tuesday as his ERA climbed to 3.89. But he was at his best against the Nationals (48-52), showing excellent command of his fastball with consistent downward movement that kept the ball on the ground. Of the 16 outs that were hit in play, 10 of them were groundouts. He allowed one earned run, striking out four and walking one, to improve to 5-3 this season. He outdueled fellow rookie Taylor Jordan, who pitched well despite taking the loss. He allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits in 7 2/3 innings. Jordan was the victim of some sloppy third inning defense as the Pirates (59-39) ran out to a 3-0 lead. Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin both smacked singles up the middle of the infield in consecutive at-bats, and Jordan walked Garrett Jones as the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs. The Pirates then had two consecutive batters hit ground balls that could have been turned into double plays, but the Nationals couldn't convert either. Jones broke up a double play with a hard slide as Alvarez scored to put the Pirates up 1-0. Then, Jordy Mercer hit into what would have been an inning-ending double play, except Washington second baseman Anthony Rendon dropped the throw from third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.