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Gerrit Cole struggles in return from disabled list, Pirates lose to Phillies, 6-2

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that time Jeff Locke totally shoved it in a game played at the same time as a Penguins Stanley Cup Final game?

This wasn't like that.

If you were watching the Steelers opener on Monday night, you wouldn't be surprised to check in and find out Gerrit Cole had another bad outing. I don't know if you'd even be surprised to hear whispers he might be still hurt. In any event, Cole was ineffective with 55 pitches in his two innings and the Pirates fell to the Phillies, 6-2, dropping their fourth game in a row and their 12th out of their last 14 .

Cole was not sharp, struggling to throw strikes at times, and was tagged for five runs in the second inning. He gave up four hits and four walks in his first start since going on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Freddy Galvis started things innocently enough with a weak pop-up no-doubt solo homer to right. He was the first of six straight Phillies to reach base -- Odubel Herrera singled and Cody Asche doubled him in, pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and Cesar Hernandez drew walks and Roman Quinn got his first career hit with a two-run double over Adam Frazier's head in left field. Maikel Franco pushed Hernandez home with a groundout, then, mercifully, Ryan Howard struck out and Cole was done for the night.

Before the game Clint Hurdle did not disclose Cole's specific inning or pitch limit for the night. It seems safe to assume those numbers would have been higher than two and 55, respectively, but it wouldn't have done a lot of good to let him get keep getting his brain beaten in. It's not like Cole couldn't have just been flat-out ineffective, but the idea that there's still something not physically right with him doesn't seem crazy.

I'm also not a doctor. I'm grasping at straws just like you are.

Anyway, National League Player of the Week Jung-Ho Kang was the only Pirate with two hits. They took a 1-0 lead in the first when Howard couldn't handle Gregory Polanco's grounder and Josh Bell scored from second.

Hellickson rolled from there, allowing just three hits in 6 1-3 innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.

Juan Nicasio, Felipe Rivero and Jared Hughes didn't allow any runs. Antonio Bastardo, extended to two innings, gave up one. The only really tense moment after the second inning came when Rivero was visited by the trainer seventh, but he was left in the game.

Are we still mentioning the wild-card race in this spot? No? Didn't think so.

The end.