PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates believed they were getting a future ace when they used the first pick in the 2011 amateur draft to select Gerrit Cole and then gave the UCLA right-hander an $8 million signing bonus.
Cole certainly played the part Tuesday night in his major-league debut, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park.
The 22-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings with no walks and two strikeouts. He also hit a two-run single in his first plate appearance to open the scoring.
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 start 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 Russell 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 as he failed to make it past the fifth inning. He gave up four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Andrew Torres and Joaquin Arias had two hits each for the Giants.
San Francisco reliever George Kontos was ejected in the eighth by home-plate umpire Wally Bell for hitting McCutchen with a pitch. That came one inning after Alvarez homered off Kontos and was the fourth hit batsman of the game.
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 to open the scoring. Martin, Alvarez and Neil 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.
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. ... 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.