Cole makes history in Pirates’ victory
On his 10th try, Gerrit Cole finally beat the Cincinnati Reds. And he pretty much had to do it by himself.
Cole ended his career-long futility against the Reds by hitting a homer , pitching seven innings and leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 victory Saturday night.
“That’s the old thing: When something like this happens, you joking say he Little Leagued them,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He shut ‘em out and hit a homer. That’s impressive.”
Cole (11-8) was 0-6 against Cincinnati in nine starts, including a loss earlier this season. He broke through by holding down a lineup that had scored nine runs the previous night. Cole gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter and fanned six.
He also connected for his first homer of the season and the third of his career off Luis Castillo (2-7) in the sixth, getting around on a 95 mph fastball. It was Cole’s first homer since May 26, 2016, against Arizona at PNC Park.
Cole has had so little practice at his home run trot that he stumbled rounding second base.
“I almost broke my ankle at second base and I think (Cincinnati’s) Scooter Gennett was laughing at me,” Cole said. “It doesn’t happen very often. It’s cool being in the box and hearing the sound off the bat.”
The last time an opposing pitcher homered to beat the Reds 1-0 was 1983, when the Dodgers’ Bob Welch connected off Mario Soto, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau provided by the Reds. It was the first time in Pirates history that a pitcher drove in all Pittsburgh’s runs in a shutout victory.
“I made a mental mistake,” Castillo said. “He was leading off and I threw a fastball right down the middle and he hit it out of the park.”
Cole is 8-0 in his last nine road starts. The last Pirates pitcher to win eight straight road decisions was Don Robinson in 1982.
Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero completed the five-hitter, with the left-hander getting his 15th save in 16 chances.
The Pirates won for only the third time in 13 games against their Ohio River rivals this season, and did it with minimal offense. Pittsburgh hit just four balls out of the infield — including Cole’s homer — in seven innings against Castillo, who matched his career high by fanning nine.
Cincinnati left fielder Adam Duvall threw out Josh Bell at the plate as he tried to score on David Freese’s single in the fourth inning. It was the 13th time Duvall has thrown out a baserunner this season, the most by a major league outfielder. Duvall’s 13 assists are the most by a Reds outfielder since Jay Bruce had that many in 2013.
It was the 21st 1-0 game in Great American Ball Park’s 15-year history. ... Joey Votto’s streak of reaching base in 29 straight games was snapped.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli went back on the 10-day DL with a sore left thigh. He came off the disabled list Friday after recovering from a sore wrist, and hurt his thigh while running the bases. C Elias Dias was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... OF Gregory Polanco, on the DL for the second time because of a strained left hamstring, did some agility drills and took batting practice but isn’t close to returning.