It took a little time for the sun to shine on this Father’s Day, causing the Pirates-Dodgers game to be delayed until about three o’clock.
But once the skies cleared up and the rays illuminated PNC Park, it didn’t take long for the Pirates’ collection of sons — who honored their fathers throughout the ROOT broadcast — to shine in their own way and take a 6-3 win against Los Angeles.
The Pirates jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Zack Greinke and the Dodgers after Garrett Jones lined a two-run double to right-center field that scored Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen.
Los Angeles got a quick run back off Gerrit Cole, though his role in the scoring was actually pretty minimal. Yasiel Puig singled on a decently sharp-hit grounder up the middle — just out of Mercer’s reach at short — to lead off the inning, then stole second and advanced to third on an Andre Ethier ground out. With one out, Cole shoved a 99 mph fastball up at Tim Federowicz’s hands, and he somehow was able to put the ball in play with enough pace that Puig could score on the grounder to short.
In the fourth, Cole watched another 99 mph offering — this one fought off and blooped into left by Ethier — turn into an RBI and tie the game at 2-2.
Cole wasn’t too sharp, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits and three earned runs while striking out just one and walking none. He still got the win, though, which puts him in company with Josh Fogg, Tim Wakefield, Jose de Leon and someone else I can’t/don’t need to remember as the only Pirates’ starters who won their first two big league outings. The only reason I point this out is because the graphic was shown at least a couple of times on the ROOT broadcast, as if it’s indicative of anything — and hopefully it’s not. Who knows, maybe the graphic was making the point that Cole will transform into a kunckle-balling, mustachioed flame-out who doesn’t get remembered.
We can probably assume at least two of those descriptors won’t come true. But to ensure that, Cole is going to need more swing-and-miss stuff in the coming years. For now, though, he’s getting the job done just by avoiding walks and homers and limiting hard contact. Like I noted before the game, Cole’s rookie season could end up looking a lot like Greinke’s rookie campaign in 2004, and this outing furthered my faith in that notion.
But the reason Cole nabbed a win and joined such an elite cavalcade of Bucs’ hurlers is because Pedro Alvarez crushed a three-run shot into the center field shrubbery off Greinke in the fifth. It was his 15th homer and his 41st runs-batted-in. And Pedro, more so than any other of the sons on this team, LOVES hitting in the sunshine of the daytime. He kept his production quota up in this day game.
Alex Presley followed that display of power with his own long ball in the sixth, a liner above the Clemente Wall in right.
That was all the Pirates needed to coast past the Dodgers and take a 2-1 series victory.
A positive sight was Starling Marte coming into the game in the sixth. Hopefully this means his ribs are feeling OK and that he’s avoiding a DL stint.
With the exception of some shaky command by Justin Wilson when he first entered the contest, the bullpen shut the opponents out. Jason Grilli struck out two en route to his 25th save.
The Pirates now head to Cincinnati for a critical four-game series against the second-place Reds.