PIRATES – DIAMONDBACKS REACTIONS
By John Perrotto
Photo: David Hague
Gerrit Cole remains stuck on 14 wins and it’s a little confusing to him.
The right-hander is struggling early in games, the Pirates get behind and keeping him from win No. 15.
Cole’s record dropped to 14-7 on Monday night as the Pirates lost 4-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park in the opener of a three-game series. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
“I can’t put my finger on it,” Cole said. “The best I can do is just keep moving forward as the game progresses. “
The Diamondbacks jumped on Cole for two runs in the top of the first inning after they had been no-hit into the eighth inning Sunday at Atlanta by Braves right-hander Shelby Miller.
A.J. Pollock tripled with one out and scored on David Peralta’s two-out double. Welington Castillo capped the inning with an RBI single.
Chris Owings then led off the second inning with a double and scored on a single by Jeremy Hellickson, putting the Pirates in a 3-0 hole they could not climb out of as their winning streak ended at four games.
“Missed location early and they’re an aggressive-swinging team which you can use to your advantage,” Cole said. “If you don’t come out locating the ball early they’re going to punish you.”
The Pirates dropped six games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central and had their NL wild card lead over the Chicago Cubs trimmed to two games.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game and he has one of the best fastballs,” said Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb, who hit a solo home run off Cole in the fourth inning to make it 4-0. “We were aggressive with the fastball and able to string some hits together in that first inning.”
Cole is 0-3 with a 4.70 ERA in four August starts, though he did pitch past the sixth inning for the first time all month.
“I thought at least tonight, we got deep into the ballgame,” Cole said. “I almost got through a solid seven so that was encouraging. We played good defense. Hellickson did a nice job out there tonight, keeping us contained and it just didn’t go our way.”
–The Pirates left runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh and eighth inning when they were down 4-1.
Hellickson was lifted with one out in sixth and runners on first and second but Randall Delgado, activated from the disabled list before the game, struck out Aramis Ramirez and got Jung Ho Kang to ground out.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out but Addison Reed escaped by striking out Gregory Polanco and striking out Starling Marte.
In the eighth, Daniel Hudson struck out Pedro Alvarez with runners on first and second to end a threat.
Alvarez accounted for the Pirates’ lone run with his 19th home run of the season in the fifth inning.
“That’s usually what separates winning from losing, is hitting with men on base and men in scoring position,” Hurdle said. “We had a number of different guys have those opportunities to come up and get the big hit. From being where we were to actually have the tying run on a couple times and the go-ahead run come to the plate, we kept pushing back. We weren’t able to crack it open.”
–First baseman/outfielder Corey Hart, who has been on the disabled list since June 22 with a left shoulder impingement and right knee discomfort, is scheduled to begin a second rehab assignment Thursday with Class AAA Indianapolis.
Hart was with Indianapolis from June 30-July 11 before suffering a setback. He went home to Arizona on July 24 to continue his rehab and returned to Pittsburgh on Monday to be examined by the team’s medical staff.
–Third baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer have struggled offensively through the first four games of their rehab assignments with Indianapolis. Harrison is 1-for-16 (.063) and Mercer is 3-for-13 (.231).
Harrison has been on the DL since July 6 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb that required surgery. Mercer has been out since July 20 with sprained left knee since.
The Pirates expect both to be activated before Sept. 1 when the major league roster limit expands to 40 from 25.
–Left-handed reliever Tony Watson received the Heart and Hustle Awards in a pre-game ceremony from former Pirates pitcher and current broadcaster Steve Blass.
The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association honors one player on each of the 30 major league teams who “demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.”
One player will be selected from the 30 team winner to receive the overall award, which will be announced Nov. 10 at the Legends for Youth dinner in New York.