Recent

0

Cole, Alvarez Lead Pirates to Series-Opening Win

Let’s cut to the chase — the Pirates played a great game in front of a mostly-full PNC Park and thumped the defending World Series champions and a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Pedro Alvarez hit his 14th home run of the season in the Pirates win against San Francisco on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Pedro Alvarez hit his 14th home run of the season in the Pirates win against San Francisco on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

This game had a little bit of everything but the majority of the focus, and rightfully so, was on Gerrit Cole who only made his major league debut, cruised through a large chunk of the middle innings, had a two-RBI single and became an instant folk hero in Pittsburgh in the process.

“I actually think after he ran the bases it probably got his adrenaline to a very competitive and good place,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Cole’s third-inning hit. “I think he was amped up, he was ready to go and that was when I was going to really try to peak my focus to see how he was able to respond after that.”

That’s where his dominance of the middle innings began. Cole’s run started in the third inning with three consecutive outs and ended in the seventh when Andres Torres singled to start the inning. In between he did not allow any San Francisco hitters to reach base and in the meantime the Pittsburgh offense gave the rookie a cushion to work with.

“Our pitching staff has been pretty good this year and I think that’s a tip of the cap to how we’ve loaded up and the talent we have,” Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. “For Gerrit to come up and do as well as he did is impressive. It was a little bit of a boost but if there is one area that we feel really confident in right now it’s the pitching.”

Andrew McCutchen scored in the fifth inning when Giants right fielder Hunter Pence misplayed a ball hit by Garret Jones — who would later score on a Pedro Alvarez single. Starling Marte hit a line-drive home run just inside the foul pole in left field in the sixth to extend the Pirates lead to 5-0. The Giants answered in the seventh with two runs of their own, but Pittsburgh was back at it in its half of the inning.

McCutchen started things off with a single followed by a Jones walk and a Russell Martin single that brought the Pirates center fielder around to score (and ended with Jones being thrown out at third base). Alvarez then crushed a ball deep to right-center field for a two -run home run that set the eventual final score at 8-2.

Most of the talk will be about Cole’s debut but what Alvarez did against the Giants should not go without mentioning. He finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and was hit by a pitch in the third inning. Alvarez, despite hitting just .219 this season, leads the club with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs in addition to playing very well on defense.

**

Though the outcome appeared to be decided there were some fireworks between the two teams late in the game.

Marco Scutaro, the Giants leading hitting so far this season, was hit on the hand by a Tony Watson pitch and appeared to be in a lot of pain as he was removed from the game. Bochy said the initial X-ray on Scutaro was negative but that he could not unbend the pinky finger on his left hand and would be evaluated by a specialist on Wednesday.

“I think that they thought that we did it on purpose, which, to me is just ridiculous,” Pirates catcher Russell Martin said. “The result, obviously, the guy got hurt. You never want that to happen, but in my opinion, when a guy hits a changeup down the right-field line, it might need to speed that guy a little bit. So we threw a fastball in, and Watty’s been known to pull fastballs every once in a while. We hit him in a wrong spot, he kind of half-swung at it and almost jammed himself.”

San Francisco relief pitcher Geroge Kontos responded by not only throwing behind Marte in the eight, but eventually hitting McCutchen. For his trouble Kontos, along with Giants manager Bruce Bochy were each ejected by home plate umpire Wally Bell.

“You get a warned then you end up hitting a guy,” Bochy said.  “There’s no surprise there. That’s part of the game. You have no argument.”

The Pirates did not retaliate after McCutchen was hit and Martin said, in so many words, that Pittsburgh retaliation was on the scoreboard.

“When you hit somebody in the hand, you’re not doing at on purpose,” he said. “They threw at Cutch on purpose, so they got their — what do you call it — their retaliation or whatnot. I didn’t know if it was the most professional way to go about it. I think they just weren’t happy because we were beating them up a bit. The only thing we can do is just beat ‘em up again tomorrow.”

Whether there are any remaining hurt feelings for Wednesday’s game remains to be seen. Giants starter Barry Zito is known for his curveball while Pirates starter Francisco Liriano can touch the mid-90s with his fastball. One would have to think the advantage would go to the Pirates if there’s a bean ball war at PNC Park for the second game of this three-game series. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

 

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports

Ransom’s Late Homer Lifts Cubs Over Pirates 4-1

Next Story »

Marte, Pirates Light Up Zito for Eight Runs in 12-8 Win

  • michaelbro8

    Martin: ““They threw at Cutch on purpose, so they got their — what do you call it — their retaliation or whatnot. I didn’t know if it was the most professional way to go about it. I think they just weren’t happy because we were beating them up a bit. The only thing we can do is just beat ‘em up again tomorrow.”
    – seriously- how many years has it been that a Bucs player would even think of making a statement like that ? Love it.

    • Henduck

      It’s definitely a new Pirate generation.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Do you think Martin still has left over animosity toward the Giants, from his start with the Dodgers?

  • smurph

    Worst baserunners in major league history:
    1. Garrett Jones
    2. Ronny Cedeno
    3. Starling Marte

    This team has such little room for error, that it is unbelievable that they give up outs so easily on the basepaths.

Latest Analysis

  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 hours ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    1 day ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    2 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    4 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    5 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    6 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    2 weeks ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More