After playing out in front of the White Sox for most of this four-game series, the Pirates decided to finish the sweep with a different tactic: the late-game rally. They probably shouldn’t have needed a late-game rally in this one; they put runners on against Jeff Samardzija in the first, third, sixth, and seventh without scoring in those individual innings. They out-hit the White Sox 13-3 in this one.
That third hit for the Sox, though, was Geovany Soto’s solo home run off of Gerrit Cole in the seventh inning, and that made the game 2-2 for a brief moment. That didn’t last long, as Jung Ho Kang reached on a one-out infield single in the top of the eighth, went to third on a Pedro Alvarez single (off of Zach Duke!), and scored on a Gregory Polanco groundout. That one run was plenty for Arquimedes Caminero and Mark Melancon, who breezed through the eighth and ninth perfectly.
It was nice to see the Pirates respond so quickly to a bit of late-game adversity. They’ve been playing out front quite a bit lately (which is what happens when your pitching staff stops allowing runs for a week), and so while I’d rather not have seen Cole give up the game-tying home run, it did at least give the offense an opportunity to come through in a big spot to keep this winning streak going. Cole’s outing tonight was interesting; he didn’t strike out a ton of hitters (just four in seven innings, a season low) and he walked a few (three, tied for his season high), but instead he did a Charlie Morton impression. He got 11 groundouts and held the White Sox to just two hits over the first 6 2/3 innings. Their first run came when Jose Abreu doubled and then moved around the bases on sac flies. As I’ve said a few times, though, I like seeing Cole pitch well in these games almost as much as the dominant ones. That’s how you go from an occasionally dominant pitcher to what Cole’s become this year.
Anyway: eight straight wins, two straight Cardinal losses, 39-27, four games out of first place. Hard to find much to complain about as a Pirate fan right now.
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