Pirates roughed up in 4-hour loss to Giants
Gerrit Cole largely suppressed his often-fiery demeanor over the past two weeks during one of the best three-start stretches of his career.
Friday, the emotional Cole was back. And so were the struggles that plagued him earlier this season.
Cole was charged with seven runs and couldn't get out of the sixth inning in a 13-5 Pirates loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
It unraveled for Cole (6-7) during the fourth inning, when he lost a lead granted by a three-run Pirates first. After retiring the first two batters of the fourth, the next five singled. The three runs allowed during the inning matched the combined total he'd allowed over his previous three starts. The five hits tied for the most in any game over that span.
Before the fifth inning, Root Sports cameras showed Cole and manager Clint Hurdle in an animated dugout discussion. Cole gritted his teeth and tightened his chin while emphasizing a word, and Hurdle looked in disgust when he abruptly turned to end the half-minute conversation.
"It wouldn't be the first (disagreement) we've had," Hurdle said. "A.J. (Burnett) and I used to have them every now and then. It's just the direction the game was going."
His pitch count at 84 at that point and due up third in the bottom of the inning, Cole said after the game he was lobbying to stay on the mound.
"I just wanted to keep pitching," Cole said.
Earlier, Cole showed visible frustration after a Josh Bell error at first base.
The scenes were a stark contrast from Cole's level-headed demeanor during intense moments of wins against Colorado, Milwaukee and St. Louis his previous three starts. Cole allowed three runs on 11 hits with a 1.35 ERA over 20 innings in that time, recovering from posting a 11.63 ERA over the four starts preceding that.
The Pirates weren't helped by a bullpen that regressed after showing some promising signs during a series win against Tampa Bay. After being scored upon during one of 92⁄3 innings of work against the Rays, the bullpen imploded Friday.
Making his first appearance since April 24, Antonio Bastardo need six pitches to walk Joe Panik, allow Denard Span to steal a base and watch his ERA climb to 17.55 and his WHIP to 3.39.
Jhan Marinez was even worse: He retired three of the 10 batters he faced, and three of them scored. Wade LeBlanc and Edgar Santana also had runs charged to them.
The abundance of baserunners and pitching changes led to a game that lasted 4 hours and 1 minute — 12 minutes shy of the longest nine-inning Pirates game ever.
By the time it ended, the Pirates' big first inning was a distant memory. The first five batters of the game reached against Johnny Cueto (6-7), and three scored.
Andrew McCutchen looked to be the only Pirate to have a good day. In the afternoon he used social media to announce to the world that he and wife Maria were expecting their first child; in the evening, he reached base four times (walk, hit by pitch, two singles) to extend a streak of reaching base to eight.
But even McCutchen wasn't immune to bad luck — he fouled a ball off his left shin during a seventh-inning at-bat. McCutchen two pitches later lined a single to left-center, and he was pinch run for.
"It hurts," McCutchen said with a smile after the game. "It's good, though — but it hurts."
McCutchen said he didn't need X-rays and expected to play Saturday, the first day of a new month. He finished June with a .411 average, .509 on-base percentage, .689 slugging percentage and 1.198 OPS, one of the best statistical months of his career.
"I don't think it was the best, but it's up there," McCutchen said. "You see where I started from (.223 average June 1) and see where I'm at now, it was a good month."
Josh Bell also completed a strong June by logging a double, an RBI and two runs scored. The double was his 30th extra-base hit — the most by a Pirates rookie before the All-Star break in club history.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.