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Gerrit Cole holds Cubs to two hits; Pirates still lose, 1-0

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You know the Cubs? The Chicago Cubs? That team with all those hitters? You may have heard they won a prize last fall?

Well, Gerrit Cole gave up just two hits to them.

Yeah, way to go, Gerrit. Right on.

Except the Pirates still lost, 1-0.

Cole (and Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero) limited Chicago to just two hits on Tuesday, but an error -- what else -- sent home the Cubs' only run and Kyle Hendricks kept the Pirates' bats pretty cold, too.

Cole struck out eight and did not issue a walk in seven innings, pumping 96-97 MPH. He got five strikeouts in the first two innings and was lifted for a pinch hitter after just 78 pitches.

Addison Russell smacked the Cubs' first hit, a double to center field, in the second. Jason Heyward followed with a grounder to second baseman Alen Hanson, Hanson hurried and threw the ball away and Russell made it home.

And that was it. The Cubs would get one more hit the rest of the night, a Kris Bryant infield single on, ironically, a nice stop by Hanson in the sixth. Nicasio issued a leadoff walk in the eighth and Bryant walked and got to second off Rivero in the ninth, but that was the extent of Chicago's threat.

Hendricks, a pretty darn good pitcher in his own right, kept the Pirates under control with his well-located loopyball for six innings, striking out three, walking two and giving up four hits. The Bucs got two on in the second, but Hanson popped out and Cole hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning. Cole even got a single in the fifth. Gregory Polanco singled and stole second with two outs in the sixth, but Hendricks fanned Francisco Cervelli.

The Pirates got their best chance when John Jaso led off the bottom of the seventh with a double off of Koji Uehara. Jordy Mercer's long fly ball to left moved Jaso to third. Hanson struck out, then Jose Osuna hit for Cole, flying out to center. It was strange that David Freese, available off the bench, was not used to bat for either Hanson or Cole. It was revealed postgame that Freese had a hamstring issue.

Hanson, I should mention, had a few pretty nice plays, too, staying in line with the Asdrubal Cabrera type of defensive reputation he had going through the minors -- making some great plays and a few head-scratchers. With all Clint Hurdle's mixing and matching, Hanson hasn't gotten the chances some others have had, and I was happy to see him in the lineup. He's yet to show a whole heck of a lot, though, and doesn't seem to have a lot of leeway at this point.

Anyway, after sweeping the Cubs in Chicago, the Pirates have three runs to show for themselves in two home games, with Jon Lester up next.