Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 10/23/14
Starling Marte was just a few feet short of hitting for the cycle. (Photo Credit: David Hague) The Pirates needed to come back from an early deficit to grab their seventh-straight win. Once they did, the Bucs tacked on another. Then another. Then another. Then one more. Now they have the best record in Major League Baseball. The Bucs’ half of the 2nd inning had everything: six hits, seven runs, two five-pitch walks, previously stellar Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura making mistake after mistake, Tom Gorzelanny! All the runs and hits came off Johnny Hellweg in his Major League; a total of 12 hitters came up to “move the chains,” as manager Clint Hurdle put it and ignite the Pirates to a 10-3 victory in front of a sold-out PNC Park. “Some balls were left up,” Hurdle said. “A couple plays [defensively] that maybe weren’t handled as well as they’ve handled against us in the past also compounded things.” Here’s the quickest way to a 2nd-inning exit in your first MLB start: Garrett Jones lines a single to right. Pedro Alvarez grounds a single up the middle. Neil Walker doubles to the right-center gap (2 RBI). Travis Snider walks on four pitches. Jordy Mercer grounds out to second. Gerrit Cole walks on five pitches. Starling Marte ropes an opposite-field single (RBI). Russell Martin hits a ground ball Segura can’t handle (RBI + another run on the error). Andrew McCutchen chops an infield single past Segura (RBI). Garrett Jones lines out loudly to right field. Pedro Alvarez grounds a single to left (RBI). Good night, Johnny Hellweg. His ERA is now 27.00 after retiring the Bucs 1-2-3 in the 1st inning. “Not to have excuses, but it’s a little tough to see in the 1st inning with that shadow and the sun out,” McCutchen said. Cole Goes to 4-0 Gerrit Cole threw 77 fastballs out of his 94 pitches. (Photo Credit: David Hague) The offensive bonanza gave a four-run lead and breathing space to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP). Cole labored through a 27-pitch first inning, the longest of his short career, that saw the Brewers leap out to a 3-0 lead. On his first four hitters, he walked leadoff batter Nori Aoki on four pitches, gave up back-to-back singles and hit Aramis Ramirez for the first run. A Jonathan Lucroy double play slowed the bleeding, but then Juan Francisco and Rickie Weeks knocked two singles and Cole stranded two runners. Cole generated three ground balls in the first, but two dribbled through for singles. “A few of those ground balls went our way the 2nd inning. I was kind of able to get my rhythm back. It was a little weird out there in the 1st inning.” After the shaky first act, the Pirates’ rookie starter was downright solid. He benefited in the second inning from a fabulous Andrew McCutchen running catch and catcher Russell Martin gunning down Aoki trying to steal second. After that, Cole cruised with the help of a “solid” defense. “That’s so huge when you’re on the ropes and pitch count is getting up there to have those guys pick you up and make some quick outs. That changes the ballgame.” If Gerrit Cole had retired either Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig or Andre Ethier in the 6th inning two weeks ago, he would have four quality starts in his first four Major League outings. He will have to settle for three quality starts and becoming the first Pirates pitcher since Nick Maddox in 1907 to win his first four starts. He said he didn’t have his best fastball command, and one could say he did not have his sharpest offspeed stuff, but 14 of the 30 swings on Cole’s fastball were either whiffs or groundballs. Oh, and he also threw one 100 miles per hour, or “90-10″ as Hurdle is fond of calling it. Laser Show at PNC By the way, Marte and McCutchen were each a hit away from earning the cycle. Marte needed a home run but his fly ball was about 20 feet short. McCutchen needed a triple but never got a chance. McCutchen did get the home run in the 8th inning on a full count, though, his 8th of the season to continue the celebration of up to 36,875 fans. “It makes it fun just to have their support behind us,” McCutchen said. Another by the way, Ryan Reid collected more strikeouts than Cole, pitching three scoreless innings for his first career save. Reid was all smiles afterward, happy with a job well done (not to mention a job) on his first chance after seven full seasons in the Minor Leagues. “You work hard for this opportunity,” Reid said. ” To be a part of an opportunity with a winning ball club like this, I couldn’t have imagined.” Reid couldn’t have imagined. Perhaps no one could have imagined the Pirates would roar out to a 49-30 record and sit nine games above the National League teams slap-fighting for a playoff spot while they hover around .500. And here comes the offense.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

Report: Browns interested in drafting Marcus Mariota

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

WATCH: South Alabama coach bloodied after kick to the face

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.