The victory train was running along the North Shore Friday as the Pittsburgh Pirates (19-22) rode the right arm of Gerrit Cole to a 4-1 win over the New York Mets (24-19) at PNC Park.
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Cole’s performance was appreciated by Pirates’ fans as he scattered six hits and gave up one unearned run in going eight 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander struck out 10 and walked only one. The 24-year-old delivered 74 of his 111 pitches for strikes in facing 29 batters. His fastball topped out at 99 miles-per-hour.
Bucs skipper Clint Hurdle said on the team’s web site about Cole, “He brought energy. He brought focus to the game. It was a good shot in the arm for us.”
It was Mark Melancon who came in to finish out the ninth. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound righthander collected his 10th save and did not permit a hit as he threw two of his three pitches for strikes.
Pittsburgh put up their first two runs in the home half of the second. Gregory Polanco, hitting seventh in the order, broke out of a 0-for-19 slump with a ground ball single through the right side of the infield that scored Pedro Alvarez. Chris Stewart claimed his third double this season off Mets starter Noah Syndergaard on a sharp ground ball to left that drove in Polanco.
The Pirates added two more in the sixth when Jung Ho Kang singled on a ground ball to center that brought home Andrew McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez concluding the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left brought home Kang.
Syndergaard saw his record drop to 1-2. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound righthander surrendered four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits over six innings of work. The Mets 22-year-old rookie hurled 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes in facing 25 batters.
New York claimed their only run in the third. Juan Lagares reached base on a fielding error by third baseman Josh Harrison. Lagares moved over to third on Kevin Plawecki’s line drive single to right. With Curtis Granderson at the plate, Cole’s curveball got pass Stewart that allowed Lagares to score.
It was a good night for the Pirates defense as they turned four double plays. Stewart helped the cause by throwing out two runners trying to steal second base. Pittsburgh’s catchers have stopped a total of 20 runners to lead the majors.
Up Next: The Pirates and Mets meet in the middle game of their three-game set Saturday at PNC Park. The first pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. New York will send righthander Matt Harvey (5-1, 1.98 ERA/0.91 WHIP) to the mound and the Bucs will go with righthander A.J. Burnett (3-1, 1.38 ERA/1.15 WHIP). The contest will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game went 2:24 and there were 33,337 in attendance at PNC Park…Coming into Friday’s matchup with the Mets, Jung Ho Kang has gone 11-for-24 with a home run in his last six home games…Charlie Morton, 31, returns to the starting rotation Monday when Pittsburgh opens a three-game set with the Miami Marlins. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound righthander has not started a contest in the majors since last September…The Pirates are 13-6 when they score first in the game.