For Gerrit Cole, home is where the heat is. Pitching in front of his hometown crowd, Cole challenged the radar gun as much as he did opposing hitters Friday night, often hitting 100 mph -- sometimes surpassing it -- to lead the Pirates to a 5-2 victory against the Angels at Angel Stadium. Cole, who made his major league debut last week, was born and raised here in Orange County, Calif., and he attended college nearby at UCLA. He had a large contingent of friends and family in the stands at Angels Stadium, which is less than a 10 mile drive from his high school. Before the game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he has seen players perform differently when pitching in front of a hometown crowd. "I've seen guys come home and deal," Hurdle said. "And I've seen guys come home and it goes south on them." Cole was dealing in 6 1/3 innings Friday night, allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out five batters in easily his most impressive outing thus far. And as imposing as his fastball was, he was just as effective with his secondary pitches. He got Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to strike out by swinging over the top of his slider. And his changeup, with some deceptive movement, had batters guessing throughout the night. Though he struck out Pujols twice, the one-time Pirates killer got the better of Cole in the seventh inning by hitting his 488th career home run -- and the first allowed by Cole. And he had a bit of a scare later in the inning when he took a line drive off his left thigh. After a brief conference on the infield with trainer Todd Tomczyk and Hurdle, he stayed in the game. But not for long. He gave up a single to Alberto Callaspo on the next play, scoring Mark Trumbo from second to cut the Pirates' lead to 4-2, ending Cole's night with one out in the inning and the tying run at the plate. Vin Mazzaro got Brad Hawpe and Hank Conger to fly out -- Conger about 15 feet shy of a game-tying homer -- to end the threat.
Cole cruises as Pirates beat Angels, 5-2
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jun 22