Top pick Cole impressive in Pirates debut
Gerrit Cole took a shutout into the seventh inning of his major league debut and hit a two-run single in his first at-bat Tuesday night, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of a festive crowd.
The top pick in the 2011 draft, Cole allowed two runs and seven hits in 61/3 innings after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. He began his highly touted career with a three-pitch strikeout — all 96-mph fastballs — of Gregor Blanco and struck out two overall. He did not walk a batter.
Pedro Alvarez went 3 for 3 with a home run to back Cole. Starling Marte also homered and Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin had two hits each.
San Francisco put two runners on in the first and loaded the bases in the second against Cole (1-0) but failed to score in either inning.
Cole then set down 13 in a row, starting with Marco Scutaro’s flyout to end the second. The Giants finally broke through in the seventh inning but the Pirates had built a 5-0 lead by then.
Many of the 30,614 in attendance cheered every move made by the pitcher who is expected to be the Pirates’ ace of the future.
The sizable crowd for a weekday game, though, caused problems for the organization, which instituted a new security measure for fans entering the stadium. The use of electronic wands slowed down the entrance procedure and Pirates President Frank Coonelly issued an apology.
“We made the decision several weeks ago to enhance the security at the gates beginning with tonight’s game, but unfortunately we failed in our preparation and execution. We stopped the wanding procedure at the start of the game and were able to clear the lines at the gates by the end of first inning,” Coonelly said in a statement. “The experience was simply unacceptable and we will ensure this does not happen again.”
Tim Lincecum (4-6) gave up four runs — two earned — on seven hits in 42/3 innings while striking out four and walking two. It was the two-time Cy Young Award winner’s fourth loss in his last five starts.
San Francisco reliever George Kontos, who gave up a two-run home run to Alvarez in the seventh inning, was ejected for hitting McCutchen with a pitch in rear end in the eighth. There were a total of four hit batters in the game.
Cole snapped a scoreless tie when he lined a two-run single into right field in the second inning with one out and the bases loaded.
Cole did not have a hit during his two seasons in the minor leagues, going 0 for 6 with three strikeouts.
Martin, Alvarez and Neil Walker singled to load the bases with no out.
After first baseman Brandon Belt reached two rows into the stands to catch Clint Barmes’ foul pop, Cole delivered in his first plate appearance.
Lincecum was knocked out during a two-run fifth that pushed Pittsburgh to a 4-0 lead.
Pittsburgh placed LHP Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day DL with tightness in his left forearm to open a roster spot for Cole.