Well for all of those people that are worried about the collapse the Pirates are doing a pretty bad job of letting them have their fun. After dropping the first two games after the break the Pirates have won the next three games and now are back at 20 games over .500 and keeping pace with both the Cardinals and Reds in what is becoming a very good season. This was a rally nice game from start to finish for the Pirates coupled with some key hits and a solid pitching performance from Gerrit Cole.
This was one of Cole's most complete games of the season. He didn't really wow you with a ton of strikeouts and he did struggle with his control some but he got a ton of ground balls and only gave up a few hard hit balls. Hell, he only gave up two hits to the Nationals through his seven innings of work. He struck out seven and allowed only one walk. It was just a really good outing for Cole. What was even funnier is that Cole had two hits on the day including a two out hit that plated a run in the three run Pirates second inning. Cole hasn't always been on top of his game this year, usually having one bad inning, but this wasn't one of those games.
The Pirates offense did a pretty good job tonight. They had a couple of hits with runners in scoring position (2-for-9) and only struck out six times while gathering ten hits. They got three runs in the second inning and made it stand. The Pirates pitching staff has been unreal good so the Pirates don't need to have 15 or 16 hits a night, they just need to drive in four or five runs and they are going to win a lot of games.
The middle of the order really did work for the Pirates tonight. Pedro Alvarez was 2-for-4 and hit his 25th home run of the season in the eighth inning to give the pitching staff some breathing room while Russell Martin went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. In the eighth after Alvarez's home run he single through the left side then stole second and went to third on a bad throw then scored on a Gaby Sanchez double. That eighth inning from those two guys really put the game away when it was still very much in doubt despite a really great outing from Cole.
Cole with ten ground ball outs and six fly outs. I can deal with that.
Good for the Pirates to get the win here with the next two games going against Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.