Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 6/12/13
The Pirates couldn’t have asked for a better night on Tuesday, as Gerrit Cole‘s debut went smoothly, PNC Park was electric, and the offense came alive for a big win. The buzz at PNC Park was evident right away. Fans squeezed and packed themselves all around the bullpen area to see Cole warm up. He got a big cheer when the lineup was announced, then again when he walked in from the bullpen, then a significant ovation when he took the mound. Then, the moment everyone was waiting and hoping for. First pitch, strike, 96. Then another strike at 97. 0-2 count. The PNC crowd actually built up some great anticipation for the pitch, which is mostly unheard of unless it’s the final out of the game. They were rewarded with strike three, 99 MPH. The place went nuts. Cole went on to give up a couple hits in the first, but worked out of the inning. The Giants loaded the bases on him in the second, but he worked out of that as well. Both scoreless innings had to be huge confidence boosts for Cole…and by the time he took the mound in the third, his confidence had to be through the roof. The Bucs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second, but Clint Barmes popped out, bringing up Cole and giving Tim Lincecum a possible escape route for the inning. After falling behind 0-2, Cole laid off some close pitches and then lined a 3-2 pitch into the gap for a 2-run single. Pandemonium. The incredible thing is that Cole had only made 9 minor league plate appearances (0 for 6) and didn’t hit in college…so that was his first hit since high school. Once he had the lead, Cole worked through some extremely quick and efficient innings. He wasn’t racking up the K’s – much like his last few minor league starts – but the Giants weren’t making good contact against his great heater or his off speed pitches, which he mixed in a bit more during the later innings (he pumped mostly fastballs early on). Gerrit breezed though the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth despite getting just one more strikeout (of Buster Posey). Still, it was clear that he was in command and pitching well. The Giants finally made some noise against him in the seventh, and after three hits brought in a run, Clint Hurdle came out to the mound and the crowd erupted once again for a truly awesome standing ovation. Really cool moment – and the crowd (of over 30K on a Tuesday) was fantastic. Not only was it large in numbers, but it was extremely loud and engaged in the game, making for a pretty awesome atmosphere. The Pirate bats were able to make sure Cole earned his first major league win after he jumpstarted the offense himself. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez delivered big hits in the fourth, knocking out Lincecum early. Starling Marte tacked on a solo shot in the 6th – his first in quite a while. Alvarez, who would have been the clear star of the game if not for Cole, put an exclamation point on the evening with a huge 2-run blast in the seventh. Pedro went 3 for 3 with the bomb, 3 RBI, and a HBP. The Bucs’ bullpen had no problems wrapping things up, while the Giants ‘pen exhibited some frustration. A pitch behind Marte in the eighth and a HBP of McCutchen that looked intentional prompted a warning and ejection of pitcher George Kontos and manager Bruce Bochy. I’m not really sure what that was about. Cole and Tony Watson both hit a batter apiece (and both looked quite painful), but both came in fairly big situations and couldn’t have been intentional. All in all, it was a brilliant evening for the Pirates. Cole looks like he’s here to stay, and Pittsburgh is happy to have him in town. Pirates 8, Giants 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 38-26 / Next: Wednesday, vs. Giants, 7:05 Source: FanGraphs
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