Phillies’ hitters hit Pirate starter Gerrit Cole hard all afternoon, and handed the rookie his first loss of the season. Cole (4-1) worked five and one-third innings, and allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five.
“I think they just fought off some good pitches and they capitalized,” Cole said. “When I fell behind in the count they put good swings on the ball and just kept getting hits. Whether it was a good pitch or not, if they had leverage they were going to put the bat on the ball.”
Opposite Cole, Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels delivered one of his best starts of the season to move to 3-11. Hamels threw seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out eight Pirates.
“His command was sharp today,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “As far as his pitch efficiency and his overall command, it was a good outing for him from that perspective.”
Pittsburgh struck first in the third inning when Starling Marte and Jose Tabata reached base with two outs, and put men on second and third for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen rolled a ball through the middle of the infield to put Pittsburgh up 2-0.
In the fifth, the Phillies got one back on a RBI single by Ben Revere, and then stormed out to a 5-2 lead in the sixth.
Cole struck out lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins, but walked Ryan Howard and allowed a single to Domonic Brown, which prompted Hurdle to remove Cole from the mound.
“”For me, it was a combination of the ball being elevated throughout the ballgame and we’re continuing to try to challenge him,” Hurdle said. “Not that big damage happens quick, but things start to move away—a walk, an extended at-bat, and then a single.”
Vin Mazzaro replaced Cole, but was unable to record a single out as he allowed every man he faced to reach base. Kevin Frandsen dumped a single into shallow right field to tie the game and the Phillies took a 4-2 lead off a 2 RBI single by Carlos Ruiz, and Frandsen later scored on a fielder’s choice by Revere.
“That’s a decision the manager makes when you go to your bullpen. Whenever you go to your bullpen and it doesn’t work, the decision wasn’t the right one,” Hurdle said. “If you leave the starter out there and he gives up the runs, it wasn’t the right one.”
“To keep them at one is what I felt I was trying to do, to keep them at one,” Hurdle said.
Philadelphia tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, as John Mayberry Jr. singled to lead off the frame and later scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Michael Young.
Pittsburgh threated in the bottom of the eighth as Jordy Mercer and Marte led off with singles, and Garrett Jones singled up the middle to score Mercer. Andrew McCutchen then hit into a double play that did score Marte from third, but damaged the Pirates chances of scoring any more in the inning.
Trailing 6-4 in the ninth, a single by Pedro Alvarez was the only blemish against closer Jonathan Papelbon who picked up save no. 17 on the season.