Pirates rookie Cole baffles Angels in victory
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Gerrit Cole's homecoming Friday night was nearly perfect — especially the first six innings, when he held the Los Angeles Angels to just two hits.
Pitching at Angel Stadium — about an hour's drive from the fields where he played Little League, high school and college ball — the Pirates' prodigious right-hander started strong against the Los Angeles Angels. Cole's fastball sizzled. His slider, a pitch that was kept hidden in his first two starts, was nasty.
Cole's bid for a shutout — in just his third start in the majors — ended in the seventh inning on a solo home run by future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. No matter.
Homers by Pedro Alvarez and Jordy Mercer backed Cole's strong outing and powered the Pirates to a 5-2 win against the Angels.
The game was played about 44 miles south of UCLA's Drake Stadium, where Cole starred for three years, and close to his home in Newport Beach.
Cole handcuffed the Angels for the first six innings. Five of them were 1-2-3 innings. And he needed just 69 pitches to do it.
“He pitched like he was pitching in front of his friends and family,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He got after it. He was pitching in his hometown, and he wasn't going to let anybody down.”
Over his first two starts, Cole got just three strikeouts. Friday, he whiffed three batters by the third inning, including Pujols twice. Cole (3-0) finished with five strikeouts. The final one came in the sixth inning, when he whizzed a 2-2 slider past Mike Trout.
Cole never used his slider — the pitch many scouts believe is his second-best weapon — in his first two outings. Friday, he finally unleashed it.
“The situation dictated it,” Cole said. “(The Angels) have got the book on me, and that's a really good lineup.”
A pair of sliders helped undo Pujols in the fourth inning. Pujols took the first one for a called strike and fouled off the second to even the count at 2-2. Cole came back with a 92 mph fastball, low and away, and Pujols went down swinging.
Pujols, a longtime Pirates nemesis, broke the spell in the seventh with a solo shot to left field. It was his 49th home run against the Pirates — the only club he's terrorized more often is the Chicago Cubs (54 homers) — and No. 488 in his career.
Two batters later, Cole took a line drive off his left thigh. He's got a big bruise but doesn't expect it to keep him from taking his next turn on the mound.
“It's pretty sore,” Cole said. “It got me right on the thigh. Good thing I've got fat legs. I think I'll be all right.”
He stayed in the game but not for long. The next batter, Alberto Callaspo, lined an RBI single up the middle and ended Cole's night.
The Pirates took a 3-0 lead in the second inning against righty Jered Weaver.
Alvarez began the second with a solo homer to right field. Weaver offered a full-count fastball a bit high in the zone, and Alvarez whacked it over the right-field wall.
With two outs, Travis Snider singled to center, and Mercer followed with a homer down the left-field line. It was Mercer's fourth homer and his first since May 11, when he mashed two against the New York Mets.
Neil Walker was nicked by a pitch leading off the fourth. When Starling Marte lifted a two-out fly ball to center, it seemed Weaver would escape unscathed. But Peter Bourjos lost the ball in the lights and it dropped behind him for an RBI triple.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Pitt cruises past Delaware in season opener
- Rams cut Sam, 1st openly gay player drafted in NFL
- Fall preview: Neil Patrick Harris among coming autobiographers
- New heart drug gets top marks in study; cardiologist calls it significant breakthrough
- Decorating touches help retreats sparkle
- McConnell aide quits as scandal brews over 2012 presidential campaign
- Beatles and the Burgh: 50th anniversary week celebrates city’s British Invasion
- Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires
- Squashing stereotypes has women learning carpentry
- California governor appeals ruling that struck down schoolteacher tenure