Gerrit Cole started off the night the right way. Three Toledo Mud Hens stepped to the plate and all walked in order back to their dugout. Cole got a groundout and a flyout and whiffed Nick Castellanos on threee pitches.
The Bucs right hander issued a leadoff walk in the second inning. Cole came right back to strikeout the fifth and sixth hitters. After a wild pitch, a two-out walk put runners on first and second base. But the big righty got a crucial ground ball out—one of eight he chalked up in the outing.
The third inning was rough after recording the first out on another groundout. Cole issued a one-out walk and a stolen base. Another walk hurt, but Tony Sanchez erased the runner on the basepaths. The final out was recorded with another strikeout–this one looking to end the Tribe’s threat.
In the fourth inning, Cole got two flyouts and a groundout around a single.
In the fifth inning, Tony Sanchez crushed a three-run bomb which set up Cole for the victory. Cole responded as an ace would do, with a thankful one, two, three inning.
The sixth inning saw Cole battle through a leadoff error to get a double play ball and another ground out to end the sixth.
Cole came out in the seventh, after getting himself into some trouble as his pitch count rose into the nineties for the first time this season.
Tony Sanchez after the game: (on what was different with Gerrit Cole on this night)
“His composure. We used a lot more of his curveball today then his slider and that’s what is going to make him a successful pitcher in the Big Leagues. He cannot always rely on a 97 mph fastball because anyone can start squaring that up. Gerrit was a pitcher tonight, he grew up tonight, because he learned that he can’t just get by anymore with that fastball. Before the game I said stick with me and I think he only shook me off like one time, maybe three times, it wasn’t alot. That really helped us stay on the same page and get in a rhythm and allow him to throw 6.1 innings of great baseball.”