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Cole, Harrison lead Pirates to 11-1 blowout of Padres

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Gerrit Cole threw six dominant innings to earn his first win of the season and Josh Harrison got the offense untracked as the Pirates hammered San Diego, 11-1, to salvage the final game of their three-game series.  Cole largely breezed through, allowing just four singles, walking none, and fanning seven.  His pitch count of 97 was a bit on the high side for such a good outing, but he apparently would have gone back out for the seventh had the Pirates not run up the score.

The Pirates' offense was largely the Harrison Show early on, as their second baseman displayed the positive side of his style of play.  In the second, he followed Gregory Polanco's two-out double with an RBI single on a pitch out of the strike zone.  In the fourth, Harrison reached for another pitch out of the zone for another RBI single, bringing home Starling Marte.  Harrison then stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and hustled home on another wild pitch that didn't get far away from the catcher.  (Harrison was helped by James Shields' failure to cover the plate.)

The Pirates broke the game open in the seventh, scoring eight times and sending fourteen men to the plate.  Fittingly, Harrison started the inning by striking out but reaching when the third strike got away.  The inning featured two hit batsmen, an RBI double by John Jaso, two-run singles by David Freese and Francisco Cervelli, an RBI double by Marte, and Polanco's second double.  The Padres also managed to walk Harrison his second time up and, even worse, walk Sean Rodriguez (who'd run for Jaso) with the bases loaded.

Neftali Feliz replaced Cole for the bottom of the seventh, raising the question of why Cole batted with a nine-run lead in the top half, a potentially disastrous at-bat considering that he was hit by a pitch.  Feliz had an easy inning, Rob Scahill gave up a run in the eighth, and Mark Melancon got in some work with a perfect ninth.  The Pirates finished with 11 hits, two each by Jaso, Marte, Cervelli, Polanco, and Harrison.  They went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position, which should beef up their RISP numbers quite a bit.  They next head to Arizona for three games.