Down 4-0 in the sixth inning and getting no-hit, the Nationals woke up and pounded out three runs to make it a ballgame and chase Pirates starter James McDonald.
They just couldn't do quite enough to get over that final hump to even things up or take the lead.
The Nats missed out on a couple late opportunities, leaving a runner stranded at third to end the sixth, then stranding runners at second and third in the seventh, and they fell to the Pirates 5-3.
Washington hitters struck out 14 times tonight, but Davey Johnson's bunch still had chances. In addition to the opportunities in the sixth and seventh, the Nats also had the leadoff man on in the eighth before going down in order. They brought the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth, as well.
Jordan Zimmermann went six innings for the Nats, allowing four runs on seven hits and falling to 2-4 on the season.
With the Braves' win over Miami, the Nats fall a half-game back of Atlanta for the NL East division lead.