It didn’t have the hype or the hoopla of his first career start Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, but the second time around went just as well for Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Cole allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings of work, but pitched better than his line would suggest. However it was good enough to earn him his second win is as many starts as the Bucs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-3 in front of a third consecutive sellout crowd at PNC Park.
Pedro Alvarez played a big role in the Pirates taking the series from the Dodgers as he broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with a three-run homer to center off of Dodgers starter Zack Greinke. Alvarez had an opportunity to come through earlier in the game when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, but grounded out to first base to end the inning.
However Alvarez would not fail twice. as he continued his torrid hitting in a big way. Alvarez fell behind early and worked the count full before hammering a mistake from Greinke over the center field wall to give Cole and the Pirates all the runs they would need.
Cole got some run support early on when Garrett Jones smacked a two-run, first inning double that scored Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen to put the Bucs up 2-0.
The Dodgers cut that lead in half in the third despite never hitting the ball out of the infield.
Yasiel Puig reached on an infield single, stole second, and eventually scored from third on an RBI ground out off the bat of Tim Federowicz. Then the Dodgers tied the game in the fourth without hitting the ball hard off of Cole. A couple of soft hit singles led to a game tying RBI single from Andre Eithier.
That all changed in the fifth though with the big blow from Alvarez.
The Dodgers got one of the runs back in the sixth when Eithier delivered another RBI single to make it 5-3 and subsequently chased Cole, but Justin Wilson got out of a bases loaded two-out jam by striking out Luis Cruz to end the threat.
Alex Presley added a solo shot in the Pirates half of the sixth to make it a 6-3 game and then the Pirates bullpen took over.
Wilson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli combined to throw 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, to close the door on the Dodgers.
Overall it was another good outing for Cole, who despite allowing seven hits and striking out only one, wasn’t hit hard on the afternoon. Throw in the fact that 52 of his 80 pitches were for strikes, and the Pirates have to be very happy with what they have seen from the rookie so far.
Presley (three), Mercer (two) and Jones (two) combined for seven of the Pirates 10 hits on the afternoon as the top of the lineup continues to produce.
Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (2-0)
Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-2)
Save: Jason Grilli (25)
Home Runs: Pedro Alvarez (15), Alex Presley (2)