The Pittsburgh Pirates (39-27) collected a trio of runs for the second time in two games and defeated the White Sox 3-2 Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. For the first time this season, the Bucs have built an eight-game winning streak.
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With the victory, the Pirates are 12 games over the .500 mark and are in second-place in the National League Central Division. The crew of the Jolly Roger are just four games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals (43-23), who are on a two-game losing streak.
Gerrit Cole found a way to get the job done as he picked up his 11th win against two losses. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound righthander permitted two earned runs on three hits, walked three, and struck out four over seven innings. The Newport Beach, Calif. native delievered 66 of his 107 pitches for strikes in taking on 27 batters.
Also of note on Cole’s Major League leading 11th victory Thursday…
Pittsburgh’s bullpen continues to justiy Clint Hurdle’s faith in them. This night it was Arquimedes Caminero who did not surrender a hit in the eighth. The 6-foot-4, 253-pound righty hurled five of his eight pitches for strikes in facing three Chisox batters.
Mark Melancon came on in the ninth and claimed his N.L. leading 23rd save by throwing 11 of his 13 pitches for strikes against three hitters. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander also did not give up a hit as he struck out two.
The Pirates got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Jung Ho Kang hit a ground ball single to Chicago starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija that scored Starling Marte. The 6-foot, 205-pound third baseman went 2-for-5 at the plate, drove in a run and scored a run on the South Side of the Windy City.
Josh Harrison added a run in the top of the fifth as his sacrifice fly to center drove in Jordy Mercer. The go-ahead run came in the eighth when Gregory Polanco grounded out softly to second that brought Kang across the plate.
Samardzija allowed two earned runs on 10 hits over seven innings for the White Sox. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander fired 78 of his 114 pitches for strikes in dueling with 29 Corsairs.
The White Sox pushed a run across the plate in the bottom of the fourth on Melky Cabrera’s sacrifice fly to right that scored Jose Abreau. Chicago tied it up in the seventh when Geovany Soto collected his fourth home run on a line drive to center.
The Pirates keep getting it done with their gloves as you can see on the diving catch by Andrew McCutchen…
The second two-game sweep of White Sox means the Pirates have improved their interleague record to 5-4. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, the Bucs have posted a 31-18 record in interleague play.
Up Next: The Pirates keep their bags packed as they head to Washington D.C. Friday for a three-game weekend set with the Nationals. The Nats will give the ball to 22-year-old Joe Ross in the series opener. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound rookie righthander has a record of 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
The Pirates will counter with 38-year-old A.J. Burnett (6-2, 1.89 ERA/1.13 WHIP). The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander is 12-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 23 career appearances against Washington. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and the contest will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 2:58 and there were 21,296 in the seats at U.S. Cellular Field….McCutchen has 136 career home runs, which ties him for the 10th most in Pirates history with Kevin Young…When Pittsburgh has the lead after eight innings, they are 36-1…The most extra-base hits in a game by the Bucs was seven on Friday, May 15 against the Cubs in Chicago.