Pittsburgh Pirates hang on for 4-3 win over Phillies behind strong start from Cole


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Behind another strong start from Gerrit Cole, the Pittsburgh Pirates hung on for a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies to take the series on Saturday afternoon. Gerrit Cole became the first pitcher in the major leagues to reach 10 wins and now leads all of major league baseball in ERA at 1.71. The Pirates will go for the sweep on Sunday after reaching a season-high seven games over .500.

Cole put in another quality start, lasting six innings while giving up two runs (one earned) on fives hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts. Even when it seemed that Cole may have been a little off (he only registered 11 first pitch strikes to the 23 batters he faced), he still managed to keep the Pirates in the game. Opposite Cole was righty Sean O’Sullivan, who got hit hard throughout the course of the game. He lasted six innings but gave up four earned runs on eight hits and four walks while only striking out one. The last time the Pirates face O’Sullivan on May 12th, they tagged him for three runs over five innings.

The Phillies scored first when a Chase Utley sacrifice fly scored Ben Revere from third, However, the run would be unearned for Cole because catcher Chris Stewart made an errant throw on a Revere steal of second base, allowing him to advance to third. The Pirates would score the next four runs in the first and second innings, coming on a fielder’s choice, a single, and two infield singles.

Cole left after six innings and was relieved by Arquimedes Caminero, who continues to be a strong addition to the Pirate bullpen. Tony Watson came in to pitch the eighth and was uncharacteristically off. He gave up a run on three hits and a walk, allowing the Phillies to pull within one. But Mark Melancon would close the door in the ninth, earning his 20th save of the season, good for second in the National League.

What Stood Out

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Gerrit Cole continues to make his case to start for the National League in the all-star game. He leagues all of major league baseball in wins with 10 as well as in ERA at 1.71. He’s fourth in WAR at 2.5 and 12th in WHIP at 1.08.

Mark Melancon has turned his season around and has become a dominant force at the back-end of the Pirates’ bullpen. He now has a 2.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP to go along with his 20 saves on the season.

Starling Marte was 3-4 on he day as he tries to turn around his mid-season slump. Gregory Polanco also added two hits as he hopes to become the superstar that many analysts predicted he would become when he first entered the big leagues.

What’s Next

The Pittsburgh Pirates (34-27) will face the Philadelphia Philles (22-41) in the final game of the series on Sunday as the Pirates go for the sweep. A.J. Burnett (6-2, 2.11 ERA) will take the mound for the Pirates as he continues to quietly compliment Cole at the top of the rotation. Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels (5-5, 3.19 ERA) has put up a solid season so far and will pitch opposite Burnett. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM on Sunday.

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