The Pittsburgh Pirates were looking for any positive signs entering this recent home stand and right-hander Gerrit Cole delivered something that could possibly springboard the Pirates to some success in the upcoming weeks.
Cole pitched eight strong innings as the Bucs defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Wednesday afternoon, putting the touches on the second consecutive series win for the Pirates.
The win from Cole (3-2), who allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out seven, marked the first time a Pirates starting pitcher has picked up a win since Edinson Volquez did so back on April 17 and is only the fourth win from a Pirates starter all season long, three of which coming from Cole.
The Pirates needed solid starting pitching this series after their bullpen has been taxed and a day after Charlie Morton spun and eight inning gem of his own, Cole delivered. It marked the first time since 2007 that Pirates starters have gone eight innings in back-to-back games.
The Bucs got all the offense they needed early on.
The Pirates fell behind 1-0 early on when Brandon Belt touched up Cole for his ninth homer of the season in the first inning, but the Pirates answered in their half of the first.
Andrew McCutchen singled in Travis Snider, who got the start in right field and batted leadoff, to tie the game at one. Starling Marte followed with an RBI double to plate McCutchen and give the Bucs a 2-1 lead after one.
The Pirates got to Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum (2-2) again in the second for a pair of runs when Snider, who had a pair of hits and drew a walk on the afternoon, singled in Chris Stewart and Cole to make it a 4-1 game.
San Francisco battled back when Belt delivered a two-run double in the fifth to close the gap to 4-3, but Cole responded by retiring nine of the next 10 batters to pick up the win.
Mark Melancon retired the Giants in order in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.
The Pirates offense continues to come around as they pounded out 12 hits, three of which belonged to Ike Davis. Snider, McCutchen and Stewart also delivered multi-hit performances.
The Bucs have Thursday off before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game series.