Rookie pitcher Cole, Pirates take care of Nats
WASHINGTON — Some of Gerrit Cole's luster had faded in recent weeks as the Pirates rookie pitcher lost three straight starts.
Cole was brilliant once again Tuesday, dominating the Washington Nationals in a 5-1 victory.
Cole (5-3) worked seven innings and gave up one run on two hits. He retired 15 of his final 16 batters. Overall, he sat down 10 batters on three or fewer pitches.
“The conviction with the pitches was good. The command was very solid,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was getting after people. That's what I liked.”
Cole's previous outing, the final game before the All-Star break, was bumpy. He gave up three runs in five innings against the Mets and later admitted he hadn't properly prepared.
“I've taken a lot from every game,” Cole said. “It's easy to learn when you have the damage right in front of you. I wanted to carry my previous seven starts into this one and just keep going and keep making adjustments.”
Over his first seven starts, Cole had struggled at times in the first inning. He went into the game with a 7.71 ERA and .969 opponent OPS in the opening frame.
Bryce Harper singled on Cole's second pitch, but the right-hander was unfazed.
“Anytime you keep that guy in the park, you're doing all right,” Cole said.
Harper was caught stealing, Anthony Rendon struck out and Ryan Zimmerman grounded out.
The Pirates took a 3-0 lead in the second against right-hander Taylor Jordan (0-3). If the Nationals had played tighter defense, however, the Pirates would've gotten only one or two runs.
Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin singled. Garrett Jones wasn't tempted by Taylor's sinkers and drew a five-pitch walk, loading the bases with none out.
Neil Walker, fresh off the disabled list, hit a grounder to second base to score Alvarez. Jones' hard slide at second broke up a possible double play.
Jordy Mercer followed with a grounder to third base, scoring Martin. Second baseman Rendon dropped the throw, and everyone was safe on the error.
With two strikes, Cole pulled the bat back and slapped a single into shallow left field. Walker scored from second for a 3-0 lead.
Cole made contact in all three of his at-bats and singled in the seventh inning. Cole is batting .357 (5 for 14) with two RBI and two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the third, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos ran into a 92 mph four-seamer and drove it to center field. Andrew McCutchen jumped high enough to make the catch above the outfield wall, but the ball whizzed past his glove by inches.
It took a few moments for Ramos, who looked over his shoulder as he slowly rounded second base, and the crowd of 32,976 to realize it was a home run.
“Not that it needed to get Gerrit's attention, but that home run got his attention,” Hurdle said.
Cole did not allow another hit. In the fourth, he froze Zimmerman with a sinker for a called third strike. Adam LaRoche took a pair of sliders for strikes, then whiffed on a 98 mph fastball.
In the eighth, Alvarez hit his 25th homer, an opposite-field shot. Martin singled, stole second and went to third on Ramos' throwing error. Gaby Sanchez lined a pinch-hit, RBI double. Bryan Morris and Mark Melancon pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, for the Pirates.
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.
- Medical helicopter called for New Kensington gunshot victim
- Plum teacher held for trial on charges of witness intimidation
- Judge orders Highmark, UPMC lawyers to hash out consent decree
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Santorum officially joining GOP contenders for the White House
- North Shore access to be limited Saturday for Chesney concert, officials say
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- UPMC offering buyouts to 3,500 employees in cost-cutting move
- Parkway West to see closures the rest of the week, weekend
- Tenant charged in fire that destroyed Latrobe apartment house
- Vandals ruin Ligonier Township farmers’ garden