BINGHAMTON - Gerrit Cole's second road start in Double-A went much smoother than his first.
Six days after getting hit by a line drive and lasting just one inning in Harrisburg, Cole was back on the mound for the first time, this time in Binghamton.
Cole (2-1) rebounded very well as he allowed two runs - one earned - on six hits and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings (87 pitches). The Curve pieced together six runs and 10 hits and beat the B-Mets, 6-2, Monday at NYSEG Stadium for their fifth straight win.
The first overall selection in last year's MLB draft was taken to the hospital after a liner caught him below the left ear in his last start, and Cole had to pass multiple concussion tests before being cleared to start Monday. Cole said he was "fine" after the frightening incident last week, and it did not seem to bother him against Binghamton.
Cole retired the first seven batters he faced before Juan Centeno reached on an error by first baseman Matt Curry in the third inning. The first hit Cole allowed came two batters later when Juan Lagares hit an RBI single.
The right-hander then went on to allow at least two baserunners in the fourth and fifth innings, but he worked out of each situation without surrendering a run. The B-Mets scored their lone earned run off Cole in the sixth thanks to an RBI double from Wilmer Flores.
Tonight: Altoona at Binghamton, 6:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Brandon Cumpton (8-6, 3.21) vs. B-Mets LHP Darin Gorski (5-4, 4.14)
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve have provided RHP Gerrit Cole with early run support since he joined the team June 20. In Cole's three starts at Double-A, the Curve have scored in the first inning each time, and with two more first-inning runs Monday, they've scored a total of seven runs in those three frames.
SAFE AT FIRST: In addition to Cole, Jameson Taillon, another top pitching prospect for the Pirates, was starting Monday. Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, gave up one run and struck out two in seven innings for high-A Bradenton.
STEALING SECOND: If the Curve are able to finish off a sweep of the B-Mets tonight, it will be their sixth straight win and would put their record at .500 for the first time since they were 5-5 on April 16.
ROUNDING THIRD: SS Brock Holt, who was batting in the No. 3 spot for the first time this season, hit a solo homer in the third inning, his second of the season. It was Holt's 381st professional hit, but just his 10th home run.
HEADING HOME: The Curve won't be back in Altoona until Wednesday, but there will be entertainment at Peoples Natural Gas Field tonight. The Curve are hosting their third annual Ballpark Block Party this evening. The event lasts from 5-10 p.m. and features live music and fireworks among other activities.
- Stephen Pianovich
Of the 87 pitches Cole threw, 63 found the strike zone, and he issued just one walk. The prized prospect's velocity was impressive as the game went on, as Cole was clocked throwing in the upper 90s in the sixth inning.
In addition to pitching, Cole had the first two at-bats of his professional career. He struck out looking in the second inning in his first at-bat and grounded out to third in the fourth.
Cole's third start for the Curve closely resembled his first outing - his debut was June 20, and he gave up two earned runs in five innings with six strikeouts against New Britain - and his Double-A ERA now sits at 4.63.
The UCLA product will head to Kansas City later this week for the MLB All-Star Futures Game before he starts again for the Curve. Cole, as well as other top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon, will represent the Pirates in this year's showcase game, which will be played Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Binghamton starter Gonzalez Germen (4-6) outlasted Cole, going seven innings, but he gave up five runs - three earned - on eight hits and took the loss.
The heart of Altoona's order fueled its offense. Brock Holt, Matt Curry and Ramon Cabrera - who were hitting third, fourth and fifth, respectively - each had at least two hits and drove in one run.
Hunter Strickland didn't allow a run in two innings of relief to earn his first save.
Key player: SS Brock Holt was 2-for-5 and hit a solo home run in the third inning.
Key play: LHP Nathan Baker got B-Mets C Juan Centeno to fly out with a runner on third to end the sixth inning and preserve a two-run lead for the Curve.
Key stat: At 40-41, the Curve are within one game of .500 for the first time since April 22, when they were 7-8.
How they scored
Top 1st: Maggi reached on fielder's choice, scored on Curry single (1-0); Holt singled, scored on Cabrera groundout (2-0).
Top 3rd: Holt solo homer (3-0).
Bottom 3rd: Centeno reached on Curry error, scored on Lagares single (3-1).
Top 4th: Cabrera doubled, scored on Chambers groundout (4-1).
Bottom 6th: Campbell singled, scored on Flores double (4-2).
Top 7th: Chambers reached on Flores error, scored on Tejeda sacrifice fly (5-2).
Top 9th: Maggi walked, scored on Curry single (6-2).