The Bucs looked like they might run away and hide again, but it wasn't to be. In the first, Gregory singled off Justin Nicolino, but was picked off on an early break to second. Cutch walked, but nothing came of the frame. In the second, Fran tripled and was cashed in on a Neil Walker sac fly.
The Bucs golden gateway opened in the third, but they couldn't take advantage. Nicolino gave up a Cole single and Gregory Polanco walked to open the frame Starling Marte poured some cold water on the affair by banging into a DP. The Marlin lefty tried to keep the Pirates alive by walking the next pair, but coaxed Fran into a weak fly to right to end the frame and keep the Pirates' lead at 1-0. Not often do three walks and the pitcher getting a hit come up snake eyes.
There was some action in the Fish half; Fran managed to get ejected for mouthing off to plate ump Alan Porter when a pitch that had been called a strike against Cervelli earlier in the inning was called a ball with Gerrit tossing. Clint Hurdle and Dave Jauss came out, more to protect Fran (didn't work) than beef, although it did appear some frank discussions were held.
|The Cole Train is back on track (photo Wilfredo Lee/AP)|
Indeed, neither club stirred the pot much until the seventh. The Fish parlayed a couple of sort liners (Martin Prado's fly to right center was perfectly placed, dropping between Cutch and El Coffee, while Marcell Ozuna muscled a broken bat knock) and a sac fly into a run.
The Fish tried to rally in the eighth. A grounder to S-Rod was knocked down, then thrown away (originally ruled an error, it was later switched to a hit; tough play to score). The runner was bunted to second, and that brought in Tony Watson. He routinely shut the door, and The Shark did the same in the ninth, erasing a leadoff single via the DP and earning his league-high 41st save. Cole's 15th win ties him with Michael Wacha for #2 in the show, behind Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta, who have 16 victories.
The Bucs open a quick three-game home set against the Colorado Rockies tonight. The series lidlifter pits Francisco Liriano against rookie Jon Gray.