PITTSBURGH -- Both Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen have struggled at times this season. But they didn't show any symptoms Tuesday night. Cole notched his first quality start since May 17, and McCutchen homered twice in the Pirates' 5-2 win over the Rockies at PNC Park.
"That's a good offensive team that back-to-back nights we've executed some pretty good pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "[Cole] made pitches all night long … I am proud of him."
Cole had allowed 23 earned runs, including eight homers, in 19 1/3 innings in his previous four starts. But he didn't encounter much trouble on Tuesday, allowing just three hits and limiting the Rockies to one run in seven innings.
McCutchen helped Cole earn the win by producing his 13th career multi-homer game. He drove a 2-2 curveball to left field in the fourth, and supplied insurance runs in the eighth with a two-run blast that gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead.
"I am in a good spot," McCutchen said. "I am just trying to remain consistent every single day."
He was one of the few batters that had success off Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood struck out five and scattered six hits in six innings. His night came to an end when the Rockies decided to pinch-hit Alexi Amarista for Chatwood in the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs. But Cole struck out Amarista to navigate out of the jam -- a key moment that helped the Pirates win four straight for the first time this season.
"I think you have to think about trying to win the game in that situation," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Seven outs left. Cole's pitching great. I like Amarista's chances against Cole better than Tyler's."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pinch Power: McCutchen wasn't the only Pirate who homered on Tuesday. Pinch-hitter John Jaso scored the go-ahead runs in the seventh when he muscled a 1-0 fastball off Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino just over the center-field wall. The home run had an exit velocity of 101.9 mph and a launch angle of 31 degrees, and traveled a projected 402 feet, according to Statcast™.
"He has a unique mindset that I think all of us kind of envy and so he's perfect for those situations because he's just unfazed," Cole said of Jaso. "He's going to put quality swings on the ball every time he gets to the plate and it paid off for us tonight."
The Great Escape: Chatwood encountered trouble in the fifth. After a double from Jordy Mercer and a sac bunt from Cole, Chatwood had a runner on third and just one out. Chatwood, however, struck out both Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison to escape the inning with no runs allowed.
It's something I don't take lightly. Being here in Pittsburgh, you feel like you're a part of it. Even though you are not, you feel like you are. Everyone who is from here who watches the Pens, when they win, you feel like you won, too. Even though you are not kissing the trophy at all. But we all feel like we are a part of it. And the [Penguins] bringing the [Stanley Cup] in and being able to see it, you feel like you are a part of it. -- McCutchen, on the Penguins bringing the Stanley Cup to PNC Park More >
"I threw it down the middle. Two fastballs in a row. Wish I could have that one back, obviously … Let the guys down, you know? Just a bad pitch. That's baseball. I thought my process was good but made the bad pitch. Wish I could do it again. Got to live with it and move on." -- Ottavino, on his home run to Jaso
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
McCutchen has continued to produce in the sixth spot in the lineup. In 17 games since being moved to that spot, McCutchen has hit 25-for-63 (.397) with four doubles, a triple, five home runs and 15 RBIs. He has reached base safely in 15 of those 17 games.
Rockies: One of four rookies in the Rockies' rotation, right-hander German Marquez takes the mound in the series finale Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. MT. Marquez labored through his previous start, throwing 80 pitches before coming out after three innings against the Cubs. In five road starts, he is 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl will start on the mound for the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET Wednesday. Kuhl is coming off back-to-back solid outings, allowing three earned runs in 10 innings in that span. He has never faced the Rockies.
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