At some point, I stopped counting Gerrit Cole's standing ovations Tuesday night.
One was for taking the mound at PNC Park to throw his warm-up pitches , as if every Pittsburgh Pirates fan wanted the former No. 1 overall draft pick to feel their embrace, their hope, maybe a little of their anxiety.
One was for wiggling out of a first-inning jam, to the extent that burrowing 99-mph fastballs low in the strike zone constitutes "wiggling."
One was for what Cole said was his first hit since high school -- a full-count, bases-loaded, two-run single against two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in his first major-league at-bat.
And the last one was for it all: 6-1/3 innings, two earned runs, 81 efficient pitches, and an 8-2 victory over the defending world champion San Francisco Giants. Cole's debut was an overwhelming success, affirming both his long-term potential and near-term importance to the organization.
"I was trying not to look up, because I felt ...