Pittsburgh Pirates, Gerrit Cole blank Atlanta Braves 3-0

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Final. 0. 17. 3. 4

The Pittsburgh Pirates wrapped up their 7-3 road trip with a 3-0 win against the Atlanta Braves, which also clinched their second consecutive series win.

Gerrit Cole did not have his best stuff, but came through when it mattered, twice escaping bases loaded jams. Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang provided the scoring, and Mark Melancon closed the door in the ninth. It was a classic Pittsburgh Pirates win, one that will see the team coming back home on the back of a 7-3 road trip.

The teams played to a stalemate until the fifth inning on the backs of a one-out walk to Cole by Braves starter Alex Wood, who then gave up hits to Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer to load the bases. Andrew McCutchen then struck out as part of an 0-for-5 day. Marte then came through with a single to left to score Harrison and Cole. Kang followed with a single on the very first pitch he saw to bring in Mercer, and that was all the offense the Pirates would need.

Cole did load the bases in the sixth but again escaped the jam by striking out Joey Terdoslavich. That strikeout left all opposing batters with an 0-for-7 mark against Cole when bases are loaded. Arquimedes Caminero and Mark Mealncon pitched clean innings to secure the win for the Pirates.

What Stood Out

McCutchen had an uncharacteristic rough day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, his first hit-less game since May 29th and only his second in his last 15 games. As mentioned above, Cole did not have his best stuff, walking three and allowing six hits.

The Pirates stacked right-handed bats in this one to take advantage of Wood’s career slugging numbers against right-handed hitters. Righties slug .38 points higher than lefties against Wood (.366 to .328). Sean Rodriguez got a rare start at 1B as Pedro Alvarez sat. Harrison went 3-for-4, raising his average up to .265 on the year and continuing his amazing climb out of the his early season struggles.

What’s Next

The Pittsburgh Pirates (31-25) will return home for an eight-game homestand, starting with a three game set against the Milwaukee Brewers (20-37). A.J. Burnett toes the rubber against Jimmy Nelson. All games in the series start at 7:05 PM EST and can be seen on ROOT sports.

Next: Are the Pirates better off with Francisco Cervelli at catcher than with Russell Martin?

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