Gerrit Cole threw a pitch 100.2 mph in the sixth inning Friday night, making him the first Curve pitcher ever to hit triple digits in a game at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Cole's last three starts have all been on the road, and the Pirates' reports say he's been clocked at 100 in some of those. Pitchers such as Matt Capps, Ian Snell, Duke Welker and Vic Black have come close to 100 in the Curve's 14 seasons, but Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, is believed to be the first Altoona pitcher to reach that mark.
Cole didn't just throw heat, either, as he was dominant for five innings. He hit a snag in the sixth and was lifted with a high pitch count, and the Curve offense gave him plenty of support in a 6-1 win before 4,411 fans.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Miguel Bonilla (46) meets with Gerrit Cole on Friday.
"I didn't leave myself very much leeway in terms of pitch count, so I've got to do a better job than that," Cole said after throwing 90 pitches (52 strikes) in 5 1/3 shutout innings.
The right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out six, but he walked three, including two in the sixth that cut his night a littler shorter than he wanted.
"I think he understands what he needs to do," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said. "His goal right now is execute the fastball and get earlier-count outs and pitch deeper into games. He wants to go six, he wants to go seven, and I think he's realizing he needs to be more efficient with his pitches."
Tonight: Trenton at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Phil Irwin (3-7, 2.93) vs. Thunder RHP Brett Marshall (12-4, 2.77)
Cole pitched six shutout innings July 31 at Trenton, and milb.com reported he hit 100 mph five times that night, including three in the sixth inning.
Cole followed a similar pattern Friday, throwing harder as the game progressed.
He hit 99.8 on back-to-back pitches in the fifth inning, according to the high-tech ballpark radar system, then was clocked at 100.2 in the sixth with his pitch count at about 80. The Pirates' gun had him at 101 mph on that offering.
Forbes compared Cole's ability to reach back and throw that hard later in games to some of the game's elite pitchers, such as Detroit's Justin Verlander.
"That tells you what kind of special arm this guy has," Forbes said, "and as he continues to develop and understands how to use his weapons, the possibilities that he has."
Asked how he's able to amp it up later in games, Cole said, "I don't know, just getting more comfortable out there, and you can get more aggressive."
Oscar Tejeda and Jarek Cunningham each belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Curve a 4-0 lead.
Cole (3-4) walked the first batter he faced in the sixth, got a strikeout, then walked another and was lifted. He lowered his ERA to 3.43 through nine Double-A starts.
Kyle Kaminska pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, but Trenton broke up the shutout bid with a run in the ninth off Hunter Strickland.
Thunder starter Shaeffer Hall (8-8) allowed five runs - four earned - on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss.
Key player: RHP Gerrit Cole pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Key play: LF Oscar Tejeda and 2B Jarek Cunningham each hit a two-run homer in the fourth for a 4-0 Curve lead.
Key stat: Cole threw a pitch 100.2 mph in the sixth, becoming the first Curve pitcher to reach 100 in a home game. He previously had done so on the road.
How they scored
Bottom 4th: Curry singled, scored on Tejeda two-run homer (2-0); Welch singled, scored on Cunningham two-run homer (4-0).
Bottom 6th: Welch reached on Mahoney error, scored on Farrell single (5-0).
Bottom 7th: Santos hit by pitch, scored on Tejeda single (6-0).
Top 9th: Segedin walked, scored on Ibarra double (6-1).