Cole's tank ran a little low in the sixth. With two outs, he walked Elvis Andrus, who stole second; Russ Martin's throw was on the third base corner of the bag and that 15" let Andrus get in. Then Cole lost Alex Rios. The Rangers ran a double steal, and the throw to third beat the runner, but Pedro missed the first swipe but still got the hand on the rebound, but the bang-bang call went Texas' way. No diff; he got Adrian Beltre on a tapper to short, but it did take him 30 pitches to navigate the frame.
Darvish blinked first in the seventh. With two gone, The Byrd doubled to left; the Rangers were in a no double D with the third baseman guarding the line, and Marlon lined it past him on the SS side, where it hooked into the corner. With two strikes, Pedro lined another double to the left center gap, and the Bucs drew first blood. Cole liked the lead; he put away Texas 1-2-3, and notched his ninth K while he was at it.
Tanner Sheppers, the Buc second round draft pick of 2008 that wouldn't sign, took the hill (Darvish had a leg cramp) and tossed an easy frame; Clint Barmes singled with a out, but a JT chopper up the middle was turned into a routine 6-3 DP. Tony Watson took over for Pittsburgh and worked a clean inning.
Neal Cott, a lefty, took the hill. With an out, Cutch lined one to right and when he stopped, he was at third without a throw. With the infield in, Justin Morneau slowly bounced one to second; Cutch flew home, but Ian Kinsler made a perfect throw to the third base side of the plate. It looked as if Cutch's foot may have beat the tag by an eyelash, but the coin-flip call went Texas' way. Joakim Soria came in to face Byrd as Starling Marte ran for Morneau - which of course begs the question of why he wasn't removed for a righty (he hits .205 v southpaws); maybe Hurdle didn't like the right-on-right matchups - but Soria whiffed Byrd to bring out Mark the Shark. He got four routine grounders - one found its way into left - and there was no doubt about it.
Gerrit Cole went seven innings of three hit ball, walking two and punching out nine on 92 pitches. Pitching and defense did it today, as it has so often this year, and now the Bucs can work on extending their winning streak over the years; 20 seasons as a national punchline are over.
Francisco Liriano faces Martin Perez tomorrow night.
- #82!!!!!!! The Sid Bream monkey is off their backs at long last.
- Gerrit Cole's nine punchouts are his career high. He becomes the first Pirate rookie to win a shutout with nine or more whiffs since Jose DeLeon in August of 1983.
- Cutch has an eight game hitting streak.
- The Cubs beat the Reds 2-0 tonight. The Bucs are a game ahead of Cincinnati and one behind the Cards, who were off today.
- One Bucco fan has already partied too hearty; he ran across the field to celebrate and was taken away in cuffs; hope the Pirates go for his bail.