Things are getting weird. By weird I mean the Pirates went out and won a normal baseball game. No walk off manager challenges, no 10 home runs over two days in one game, no crazy plays, just a normal baseball game. For the second consecutive day the Pirates got eight innings from a starter and that starter did an outstanding job of holding a lead and now after 4-15 for a stretch the Pirates have won two series and went 4-2. That is a lot more fun.
Gerrit Cole was a lot better today than he has been for much of the season. He went a season-high 107 pitches and went eight innings, striking out seven and only walking one. The only guy who really got to Cole was Brandon Belt who launched a first inning Cole pitch to centerfield and then platted two runs with a double in the fifth inning. Outside of Belt the Giants had only five hits and four of those were singles. Cole threw 21-of-31 first pitch strikes and threw 68 of his pitches for strikes. That is some good pitching. Cole also got into the act with a base hit that led to a two run second inning and even dove head first into second on a wild pitch. It was actually funny watching Cole slide head first when there was zero reason to do so but at the same time I wish Cole wouldn't slide head first just for the hell of it. Nothing really good can come of it.
The Pirates offense got on the board early and was all over Tim Lincecum. Lincecum is far from the guy he used to be and early on he was having trouble keeping balls out of the middle of the zone. The Pirates took advantage. Belt's home run gave San Francisco the early 1-0 but the Pirates got it back with a leadoff hit from Travis Snider and an Andrew McCutchen double. Starling Marte continued to stay hot and doubled home McCutchen. That is how you respond.
The top of the lineup for the Pirates has been something that I can't really explain. They have went with guys that probably should be there but the trio of Josh Harrison, Travis Snider, and Jose Tabata have been doing a really nice job wince Marte got bumped down in the lineup. I don't think any of those three is a long term solution but today Snider had a pair of hits with a walk and knocked in a pair of runs with a single in the second inning. Snider was the starter for pretty much all of the offense today and it was good to see. I actually forgot that he was on the team there for the past week so it is good to see him come out hungry and show that he can give the Pirates something.
Marte has been really good since moving down in the lineup. In his last 10 games he has a hit in all but three of them and has had multiple hits in four games. He only has nine strikeouts in that span after striking out what seemed like every at bat before and he's making things happen. I have no idea if this is because of where he hits in the lineup but it is good to see.
Chris Stewart isn't all that good. With Russell Martin on the DL with an injury they needed Stewart to come in and pick up some games, especially since Tony Sanchez has had some troubles defensively this season. Today Stewart had a pair of hits and a walk and scored a run in the second. I will take that.
McCutchen had two hits. Ho hum.