PITTSBURGH -- After his postgame press conference following his major league debut, Gerrit Cole
walked out of the interview and smiled at a reporter.
"Hey, don't make me out to be some superstar yet," the right-hander said after leading the Pittsburgh Pirates
to an 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants
at PNC Park. "I've got a long way to go."
The Pirates believed they were getting a future ace when they used the first pick in the 2011 draft to select Cole, then gave the UCLA right-hander an $8 million signing bonus. For at least one night, it looked like a sound investment.
The 22-year-old allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out two without walking a batter. He also opened the scoring with a two-run single in his first plate appearance.
Cole got a supreme compliment from Pirates catcher Russell Martin
, an eight-year veteran and Gold Glove winner.
"That's the best fastball I've ever caught," Martin said. "It was just so heavy. Even when they made contact with it, they weren't really hitting it hard. It was like a rock."
Cole's fastball averaged 96 mph, according to BrooksBaseball.net, and topped out at 100 mph. However, it was the overall game that impressed Cole's teammates.
"There was no deer-in-the-headlight look from him at all," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "He worked quick, he worked efficiently, he threw strikes, and that is all good things for a defense. He's a lot more polished than a lot of guys who have gotten their start in the big leagues."
The Pirates were somewhat concerned that Cole might not ready to pitch in the major leagues, though he had gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis. However, Cole allayed those fears from the start as he struck out Gregor Blanco on three straight 96 mph fastballs to open the game.
Cole had some trouble early as the Giants left two runners on in the first inning and the bases loaded in the second. However, beginning with Marco Scutaro's flyout to end the second, Cole retired 13 consecutive batters.
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez
went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, Andrew McCutchen and Martin had two hits, and Starling Marte hit a solo home run. Tim Lincecum
(4-6) lost for the fourth time in his last five starts. He gave up four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
"I kind of put myself in some holes with some pitches that weren't really even close to the zone," Lincecum said. "I really wasn't challenging the zone with quality strikes. When I did throw quality strikes, they put them in play and hurt us.
Andres Torres and Joaquin Arias had two hits each for the Giants.
San Francisco reliever George Kontos was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Wally Bell for hitting McCutchen with a pitch. It was the fourth hit batsman of the game, and it came one inning after Alvarez homered off Kontos.
"It was the right thing to do," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the ejection. "Both benches had been warned, and George hit him. That's the way it goes in that situation."
Marte increased the Pirates' lead to 5-0 with a solo home run, his sixth of the season, in the sixth off Jose Mijares.
Cole got knocked out in the seventh when Tony Abreu hit a pinch RBI double with one out to break up the shutout. The Giants added a second run when pinch hitter Brett Pill had an RBI groundout.
However, the Pirates put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Martin hit an RBI single and Alvarez smacked his team-leading 14th homer, a two-run blast that made it 8-2.
Cole helped his own cause in his first plate appearance, lining a two-run single to right-center field with the bases loaded in the second. Martin, Alvarez and Walker singled to load the bases with no outs, and Cole delivered after Clint Barmes fouled out.
It was Cole's first professional hit. He went 0-for-6 in the minor leagues with three strikeouts.
"I got lucky there," Cole said with a grin. "Getting a hit and two RBIs was the last thing I would have expected coming into this game. I haven't had a hit since high school. That was a lot of fun."
The Pirates pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fifth when they scored twice and knocked Lincecum from the game.
McCutchen scored from first base on a two-base error by right fielder Hunter Pence, who allowed Garrett Jones' line single to skip past him. Alvarez drove in Jones with an infield single.
NOTES: San Francisco placed 3B Pablo Sandoval (strained tendon in left foot) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled INF Nick Noonan from Triple-A Fresno before the game. The Giants are hopeful that Sandoval will be ready to play as soon as the 15 days are up. Arias started at third base and manager Bruce Bochy said he would "ham and egg it" with Noonan and INF Tony Abreu also likely getting some starts at the hot corner. ... Scutaro left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the left pinkie in the eighth inning. Though the finger got bent back, X-rays were negative. ... Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his left forearm prior to the game, opening a spot for Cole to be added to the roster. ... Pirates RHP Charlie Morton is expected to be activated Thursday night to take Rodriguez's spot in the rotation for the finale of the three-game series. Morton has been out since last June, when he underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. ... San Francisco CF Angel Pagan (strained left hamstring) will not be activated from the 15-day DL on Wednesday, the first day he is eligible, as he is not yet able to participate in full baseball activity. ... Giants LHP Barry Zito (4-4, 4.06) is scheduled to face Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano (4-2, 1.75) on Wednesday night.
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- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Gerrit Cole
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- Pedro Alvarez