The Pirates got just three hits, falling victim to Zach Eflin's complete-game shutout for a 4-0 loss to the Phillies on Friday night.
Eflin -- a good pitcher, but probably the least hyped of the six probable starters this weekend -- needed an even 100 pitches to blank the Bucs, striking out six and walking none. Gerrit Cole was solid in his first start at PNC Park in more than a month, getting seven strikeouts and one walk, allowing a run on six hits.
John Jaso got two of the Pirates' hits. Batting fifth in the order, he led off the bottom of the second with a double to right, but, two batters later, left for third too early and was easily picked off by Eflin. Jaso singled to start the eighth, but didn't get past second base. Josh Harrison got the other hit, an infield single in the third, and was put out in a double play.
Cole kept the game scoreless until the sixth, when Philadelphia loaded the bases with an Odubel Herrera infield single, an Andres Blanco hit-by-pitch and a Tommy Joseph walk. Cameron Rupp singled home Herrera to break the tie. Still with none out, Cole fanned Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis and got Cesar Hernandez to fly out to escape further damage.
The Pirates couldn't break through, though, and the Phillies added on from there, with Herrera doubling off Arquimedes Caminero -- on a bad route from Andrew McCutchen -- and scoring in the seventh, and two-run homer for Rupp off Jon Niese in the ninth.
Cole hit Maikel Franco with a pitch near the hands in the first, and Eflin hit McCutchen in the bottom of the inning, prompting a warning of both benches. Cutch was fine, but Franco later left the game, possibly leaving a thin Phillies lineup without one of its better hitters for the next two games.