Pittsburgh Pirates take home and home series, extend win streak to 8


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Gerrit Cole

took the MLB lead in wins when he earned his 11th last night in the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. The game was a short pitcher’s duel between Cole and

Jeff Samardzija

until the Pirates broke it open in the fourth inning. The win is their season high eighth in a row and represents a sweep of the home and home series over Chicago.

In the top of the fourth inning Josh Harrison singled but was thrown out when Starling Marte hit into a fielder’s choice. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single that moved Marte to third, who then scored on Jung Ho Kang‘s hit. The White Sox quickly evened the game in the bottom half of the inning when Melky Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to right that brought in Jose Abreu.

The Pirates jumped ahead in the fifth again off of Harrison’s sacrifice fly to center scored Jordy Mercer, who had singled earlier in the inning. In the middle of all this was Corey Hart‘s first of three hits (!), a feat that a certain writer was almost guaranteeing wouldn’t happen in yesterday’s recap.

At this point  Cole has kept the White Sox offense to just one run. They only tallied three hits but two of those were for extra bases. The one, Geovany Soto‘s fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning, especially hurt. The Pirates had an unlikely hero in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pedro Alvarez was left in to face the left handed Zach Duke. Alvarez worked a deep count and singled to center and moved Kang to third. Gregory Polanco quickly grounded out to second to score Kang and give the Pirates the only other run they would need.

Arquimedes Caminero worked the eighth inning and got all three hitters out. With no additional runs in the top of the ninth, Mark Melancon  brought in and was left with no room for error. He also retired all three hitters he faced and earned his league leading 23rd save. The win puts the Pirates at 39-27 going into tonight’s game and sit just four games back of the St. Louis Cardinals.

What Stood Out

Just like the last time he pitched, no every time he has pitched this year, Cole was the standout player. Even though he did not have a ton of strikeouts and make the mistake to Soto in the seventh, he limited the White Sox to just two runs and kept his team in the game. So far this season the most runs he has given up in a game in three, and that has only happened twice. Only two of his starts have not qualified as a quality start.

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The only real negative from last night’s game was that the Pirates had thirteen hits and only scored three runs. At the end of the day they earned the win so it doesn’t really matter, but it would still be nice to see them score more runs when they get that kind of production from the lineup. There were certainly be games down the line, perhaps as early as this weekend.

What’s Next

The Pirates will begin a three game series against the Nationals in Washington tonight at 7:05pm. In another can’t miss pitching matchup, A.J. Burnett will faceoff against Joe Ross. Burnett will look to keep his all-star caliber season going against a Washington team that has performed well below preseason expectations up to this point. Ross has only made two starts this season and has a 1/12 B/KK ratio and those came against Milwaukee and Chicago. Washington may also be without Bryce Harper, who was injured Thursday night and will be reevaluated today.

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