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Gerrit Cole strikes out five in Pirates' latest win

Victor Decolongon

Gerrit Cole got five strikeouts and Pedro Alvarez homered again as the Pirates kicked off their series with the Angels with a 5-2 win.

Alvarez led off the second inning with a homer, and Jordy Mercer followed with a two-run bomb later in the inning to give Cole a 3-0 cushion. The Bucs picked up another run in the fourth as Neil Walker was hit by a pitch and Starling Marte hit a ball to center that Peter Bourjos seemed to lose in the lights. (It was ruled a triple.)

The Angels finally got to Cole -- well, a little -- in the seventh, when Albert Pujols homered and Alberto Callaspo hit an RBI single. But otherwise, Cole was excellent. He still threw a ton of fastballs, but he threw them with a wide range of speeds, and he also turned to his slider, which we didn't really see in his first two starts.

Clint Hurdle turned to Vin Mazzaro with a man on and one out with a 4-2 lead in the seventh, and Mazzaro got five outs before handing it off to Jason Grilli. Meanwhile, the Pirates picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Andrew McCutchen doubled home Mercer.

On a side note, in case you didn't hear it on the podcast, I'm going on vacation starting later today, and I won't be on the internet, so if you need me in the next couple weeks, too bad. The good news, though, is that Bucs Dugout should proceed pretty much as normal, with David Manel, David Todd, WIlbur Miller and Vlad all picking up recaps for me. See you all soon.