Pirates cruise with Cole leading the charge
PHOENIX -- Gerrit Cole won his third straight start and improved to 7-0 in his last nine outings as he handcuffed the D-backs for 7 2/3 innings and the Pirates hung on for a 4-1 win on Friday night at Chase Field.
The Pirates jumped on D-backs starter Josh Collmenter for three runs in the first two innings, which provided all the support that Cole needed. Collmenter settled in to retire 12 straight after the rough beginning.
With their sixth win in eight games, the Pirates climbed over .500 (9-8) for the first time this year. They had begun the season being swept in a series at Cincinnati.
"It's a step in the right direction," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think we're going to stay focused on playing our game, versus our record. But it's always better to be over than under."
The Pirates scored all four of their runs with two outs.
"That's our club," Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison said. "We feel like we're always in scoring position, even if there are two outs and nobody is on base. We know that one hit, and someone puts a ball in the gap and we score."
Harrison led the offense, going 2-for-4 with a two-out, two-run double in the second inning. Second baseman Neil Walker drove in a pair of runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
J-Hay … some day: Harrison's 2014 breakout included leading the National League in hitting with runners in scoring position (.372). Settled in as the Pirates' leadoff batter, Harrison now doesn't get many chances to do that. He got one in the second inning -- and came through with a two-run double -- his third hit in six opportunities with RISP. More >
Good slide by Goldy: With two outs, Paul Goldschmidt on second and Yasmany Tomas on first in the sixth inning, Chris Owings hit a grounder up the middle that scooted under a diving shortstop Jordy Mercer. However, second baseman Walker was able to snare it with a backhand dive in shallow center. Third-base coach Andy Green waved Goldschmidt home, and while the throw looked like it beat him, Goldschmidt made a nice slide away from catcher Francisco Cervelli's tag and was safe.
Missing the big hit: Cole pitched well, but the D-backs did have their chances against him. They stranded a pair of runners in the third and sixth innings and were just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
"He got wet." -- Hurdle, on what rehabbing Charlie Morton got out of pitching in a squad game Thursday in Bradenton, Fla., that was limited to one inning by rain
"It was like a Jackie Robinson or something, with that back leg slide." -- D-backs manager Chip Hale, on Goldschmidt's sixth-inning slide at the plate
Call at plate confirmed on review
The Pirates unsuccessfully challenged a safe call on Goldschmidt at the plate in the sixth inning. Goldschmidt scored from second base on Owings' two-out bouncing single up the middle that was stopped at the edge of the outfield grass by Walker -- whose throw appeared to reach Cervelli in time. Plate umpire Tony Randazzo called Goldschmidt safe, and replay review confirmed the call.
Pirates: A.J. Burnett, still looking for the first win of his final season despite a superb 2.00 ERA, takes on Arizona in Saturday's 8:10 p.m. ET middle game of the set.
D-backs: Rubby De La Rosa will make his fourth start of the season Saturday night. The right-hander has flashed dominant stuff at times, but he is still looking for consistency.
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