ShareThis Page

Pirates roll past Phils; Cole suffers soreness

Rob Biertempfel
| Friday, July 4, 2014, 8:36 p.m.
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to the plate during the second inning against the Phillies on Friday, July 4, 2014, at PNC Park. Cole left the game with an injury.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to the plate during the second inning against the Phillies on Friday, July 4, 2014, at PNC Park. Cole left the game with an injury.

If the game had been played in a lot of other ballparks, Andrew McCutchen would have hit for the cycle Friday.

McCutchen delivered four hits as the Pirates dismantled the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-2, at PNC Park. He singled in the first inning, tripled in the second and doubled in the fourth.

In the eighth, McCutchen went to the plate knowing he needed a home run to become the first Pirates player in a decade to hit for the cycle. Reliever B.J. Rosenberg threw a 2-2 fastball, and McCutchen launched it to deep right field.

“Off the bat, I thought it was out,” McCutchen said. “But you never know with this ballpark. Some days, it does. Some days, it doesn't. You just don't know.”

One of the quirks of PNC Park is the Clemente Wall, which looms 21 feet high in right field. McCutchen's shot hugged the line and stayed fair, but crashed halfway up the wall — missing the home run by about 10 feet.

“Dang it, that should have been a homer!” McCutchen said with a laugh. “You start thinking, ‘If I was playing at this or that ballpark, that ball might have gone out.' But, I'll take the double and the RBI.”

The last Pirates player to hit for the cycle was Daryle Ward on May 26, 2004, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The only Pirate to do it in Pittsburgh in the past 60 years was Jason Kendall, who did so May 19, 2000, against the Cardinals at Three Rivers Stadium.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole blanked the Phillies for five innings, but left the game because of soreness in his right lat. He will be re-evaluated Saturday.

The latissimus dorsi is the broadest muscle in the back. It moves the arm and also helps a person bend sideways and backward.

“It started getting a little tight,” Cole said. “There's no pain. Instead of trying to push through it, it seemed the right thing to do was take a step back. It feels good right now, so I should be good to go.”

Cole was on the disabled list for much of June because of right shoulder fatigue.

It's too early to say if the lat soreness is related to that earlier injury, but manager Clint Hurdle was pleased his prodigious right-hander immediately alerted the training staff about his discomfort.

“It's a sign of maturity,” Hurdle said. “We'll see where it goes. I don't think anybody is overly alarmed (about the lat injury) right now.”

Cole (7-4) gave up one hit, walked one and got five strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches, including 51 strikes.

Stolmy Pimentel took over with a 5-0 lead but gave up three walks and Chase Utley's RBI single without getting an out.

Jared Hughes replaced Pimentel and got Marlon Byrd to ground into a double play. Jimmy Rollins scored on the play, the first inherited runner Hughes allowed to score this season.

“In that situation, I'm going for the ground ball,” Hughes said. “All in all, I'm just happy we got the win.”

Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez (3-8) threw 45 pitches, only 22 of them strikes, in the first inning. Four of the first five batters in the inning worked the count full. After Gregory Polanco led off with a fly out, the next seven batters reached base — five singles and two walks.

The Pirates sent nine men to the plate and took a 4-0 lead, with all of the runs scoring with two outs. The key blows were RBI singles by Russell Martin and Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer's two-run single.

Mercer added a two-run double in the seventh, giving him a career-best four RBIs.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.