Another start, same old success for Gerrit Cole. The right-hander that the Pittsburgh Pirates GM has said ‘will show us when he is ready,’ seems to get closer every time he toes the rubber.
Cole worked like Kris Letang against the Minnesota Twins, constantly grinding through the difficult spots in the game. The defense wasn’t a whole lot of help for Cole, and the Bucs bats were pathetic against a light pitching Twins team.
But the pitcher many feel will be the Bucs ace one day didn’t let the game get out of hand; there isn’t much more to ask from a rookie who some said didn’t appear to have his best stuff today.
To lead off the game, Aaron Hicks singled on a sharply hit smash that deflected off the glove of Cole and shortstop Clint Barmes wasn’t able to clean up.
The fleet-footed Hicks stole second and then Brian Dozier grounded out to Neil Walker at second, putting Hicks on third with one out. Josh Willingham grounded out to short, which plated Hicks giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. Justin Morneau followed with a single, but Cole whiffed Ryan Doumit to end the threat.
In the second, Joe Benson flew out to right. Ray Olmedo singled, and thanks to another poor throw from (guess who?) Michael McKenry, Olmedo moved to third base. But it only seemed to make Cole focus more, as he induced two groundouts to get out of the inning.
Cole later avenged the Hicks single by getting him swinging to start the third inning. Dozier and Willingham hit back-t0-back singles, but the Bucs rookie was again able to get out of the jam by getting Morneau to fly out and whiffing Doumit a second time.
A rare Clint Barmes error allowed Joe Benson to reach first base, a groundout moved him to second, and a wild pitch by Cole got past The Fort and put Benson on third with one away.
Once again, Cole focused and stranded Benson at third by getting a fly out and showed off more of his swing-and-miss stuff by whiffing Pedro Florimon.
In all Cole went four innings, allowed five hits with four strikeouts–most coming when he needed them most.