Gerrit Cole didn’t have his most dominant stuff but when the 24 year old takes the mound, those in the Pirates clubhouse expect to win and that’s what continued Friday night with a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cole pitched seven solid innings to become the first 13 game winner in the Majors, while Neil Walker had three hits, including a two-run homer in the fourth, pulling the Pirates back to 4.5 games out of first place.
DHP_4311Cole allowed six hits, while striking out three and walking two. The only runs he allowed came in the third on a Matt Carpenter home run.
Heading into the All-Star break with 13 wins Cole said afterwards he feels that he gets better in some area every time out.
“I feel like I’ve gotten better every time out in some area,” Cole said of the way he’s evolved this season.
With Cole on the mound, once Walker put the Pirates ahead 5-2 in the fourth, the formula was there to get the win Friday night as the ideal scenario was Cole going seven, Tony Watson comes in the eighth and Mark Melancon closes the door in the ninth and that’s how it played out.
DHP_4781Melancon would pitch a scoreless ninth for his 29th save of the season and a Pirates record 27 consecutive saves.
“He’s locked down,” Cole said of Melancon. “No other way to describe it. When he’s on his game, it’s over.”
A positive on the night for the Pirates was contributions throughout the lineup, especially the 2-6 hitters. The Pirates had 10 hits in the game with Neil Walker (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), Andrew McCutchen (1-4), Jung Ho Kang (2-4, RBI), Jordy Mercer (2-4, RBI), and Pedro Alvarez (1-3, RBI) combining for nine of the 10 hits, and drove in all five runs.
Mercer, Kang and Alvarez all provided timely hitting early in helping the Pirates get ahead 3-2 before Walker pushed the lead to 5-2.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn lasted just four innings and allowed nine hits, five earned runs. The Pirates were effective at getting ahead of Lynn, forcing him to throw fastballs.
Photo: David Hague