Gerrit Cole goes 6.1 innings in big-league debut

Justin K. Aller

­Brief recap of Cole's debut:

In his Major League debut Gerrit Cole filled up PNC Park and the strike zone.

A Tuesday crowd of 30,614 greeted Cole with what would be the first of four standing ovations he would receive over the course of the night as he walked to the mound in the first. The mood in the park was special all night, transforming from hopeful anticipation, to electrified, as the innings progressed.

Cole showed good command of his fastball, using it to get ahead most of the evening. His fastball sat in the mid-to-upper 90s and was still hitting 97-98 in the seventh. He threw 65 fastballs, 13 sliders and three changeups. Cole relied almost exclusively on first pitch-fastballs. The lone exception being a slider to lead off Marco Scutaro in the fifth. He did not throw an offspeed pitch when behind in the count all night.

He struck out the first Major League batter he faced, Gregor Blanco, on three pitches, all fastballs, clocking in at 96, 97 and 99. His second strikeout came in the sixth against Buster Posey, getting the Giants' catcher on a 2-2 slider.

For the night Cole's line reads as follows: 6.1 Innings pitched, seven hits, two earned runs, two runs, no walks, two strikeouts, 53 game score, 81 pitches and 59 strikes.

Cole showed some swing-and-miss stuff, with nine of his 59 (15.25%) strikes coming on swings. He added 18 looking strikes and 7 foul balls.

At the plate, Cole helped his own cause by providing the first run support of career with a two-run single in the second. The hit prompted a standing ovation that lasted throughout a mound visit from the Giants pitching coach.

Overall Cole's start can only be described as a success, with perhaps the most encouraging sign being his ability to pound the strike zone, thus staying out of deep counts. As the game enters the top the eighth, the Pirates hold an 8-2 lead, putting Cole in line for his first major-league win.

On Edit: After the game Russell Martin said that Cole was throwing curveballs not sliders. Russell said that Gerrit told him before the game that he had "more trust in his curveball right now ... it had been working for him in the minors."

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