Then it got a little ugly - for Pittsburgh, at least - in the third. The bases were filled with Bucs with one down and Cutch up. The lefty-killer K'ed on three pitches, chasing a slider down and away. Pedro got ahead 2-0, but he too went down swinging. Cole got the first two Cubs in their half, then muffed a grounder by Emilio Bonifacio (who else?). He stole second and kept on rolling when Tony Sanchez's throw went into center. Cutch didn't break a sweat backing up, then made a poor throw and hey - it was 1-0 Chicago.
The Pirates looked buffaloed by Wood, who has seven Ks in four innings, with five batters in row after striking out the side. The Cubs weren't fazed by Cole. Three first-to-third singles to the pull side made it 3-0. A wild pitch and a two-out single added another controversial run. Starlin Castro was thrown out by Starling Marte, and it wasn't close, with Sanchez and the ball waiting on Castro. The speculation is that he was called for violating the blocking-the-plate rule.
To add insult to injury, the runner went to third while Tony sat and moped. But Cole got out of it without any more damage; three runs was plenty bad enough.
The fifth went quietly, as Cole picked up his ninth K. Wood did the same an inning later; Cole upped him with a tenth in the Cub half. In the seventh, the Buc bats woke up. The Kid opened with a double, and Wood was yanked for Brian Schlitter. Travis Snider grabbed a bat for Cole, and bang - his shot over the wall in center made it a 4-2 game. A single and a walk to Cutch with two outs brought on LH James Russell to face Pedro. His first pitch was a slider, El Toro took it yard, and suddenly the sad sack Bucs had a 5-4 lead. Tony Watson 1-2-3'ed the Cubbies.
Russell retired the Pirates in order in the eighth; Mark the Shark did the same to Chicago. Hector Rondon tossed a clean ninth. Not so Jason Grilli; a single and walk put the Buc lead in jeopardy. Two strikeouts and a walk loaded the bases for who else but Bonifacio. He rolled a slider to Ishi at first, and the Bucs had an improbable win over Chicago, 5-4.
Castro scores image from MLB.com, Getty Images
- As for the Castro call, the ump ruled that he slid under the tag and it was not a blocking the plate violation. Hurdle could have challenged that, but elected not to.
- The Pirates ended a streak of nine solo homers in the seventh frame.
- Gerrit Cole had his second career 10-K game.
- Starlin Castro continued his hot hitting with three of the Cubs' six knocks. Starling Marte led the Bucs with a pair of hits. And Bonifacio finally had an 0-fer.
- Pedro Alvarez is first Pirate player in at least 101 seasons to have a pair of multi-homer games this early (eighth games) into the season. When Pedro Alvarez & Russ Martin each had two-HR games last night, it was the first time Pirates have had two players each go deep twice since 5/20/04 against the Padres. Daryl Ward and Jason Bay were the bombers in a 9-7 win at PNC Park.
- Vin Mazzaro has accepted his assignment to Indianapolis.
- Jameson Taillon had successful TJ surgery yesterday per MLB.com's Jonathon Mayo.