Reds have Cole’s number
By Joe Kay
The Associated Press
CINCINNATI – Gerrit Cole’s season debut didn’t go as well has he’d hoped. That’s usually the result whenever he faces the Cincinnati Reds.
Eugenio Suarez drove in three runs with a single off Cole and a homer, and the Reds sent the Pittsburgh Pirates to their first loss, 5-1 on Saturday.
At 4-0, Pittsburgh was off to its best start since 2003. The Pirates also had their top starter making his debut – Cole (0-1) was pushed back in the rotation after developing a sore ribcage during spring training. He still couldn’t beat the Reds.
Cole won 19 games last season and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting, but failed to beat the Reds in four starts, going 0-3 with a 5.95 ERA. Over his career, he’s 0-5 in seven starts against them.
“Overall, pretty subpar,” said Cole, who gave up three runs and five hits in 42/3 innings. “I wasn’t over-excited. I just tried to make pitches. I was just a little rusty. I’m going to have to do a little work.”
Suarez had an RBI single in the first and a two-run homer in the seventh off Kyle Lobstein, his team-leading third of the season. He also scored three times.
“It was tough for me to get the ball in the (strike) zone consistently,” Cole said. “I just tried to grind it. I started getting in a little rhythm for a minute there – probably just a minute. You try to put your foot down as best you can.”
Raisel Iglesias (1-0) gave up a run and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was moved to the front of the rotation when injuries sent four starters to the disabled list.
It was 38 degrees at the first pitch with a wind chill of 25. Light snow fell during the game, which featured a Reds blanket giveaway. Many of the 22,799 fans were wrapped in them.
It didn’t go well for Cole at the outset. He allowed three hits in his first 11 pitches, including Suarez’s RBI single. Jay Bruce’s one-out single made it 2-0. After the ragged start, he settled in and retired nine in a row.
“He held up really well,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was his first start. He had to make a lot of pitches. He threw all of his pitches. He maintained his velocity. It’s a step in the right direction overall. He just needs to pitch more.”
Iglesias allowed at least one runner in each of the first four innings, but was bailed out by a pair of double plays, including one with the bases loaded. The Pirates stranded four runners in scoring position in those four innings.
The Pirates’ best start was 10-0 in 1962. They opened 7-0 in 1938, and 5-0 three other times – 1902, 1976 and 1983.
Oh to be Josh
The University of Cincinnati honored former Bearcat Josh Harrison with a poster giveaway for its baseball game against Connecticut on Saturday. The Pirates second baseman grew up in Cincinnati.
Not this time
John Jaso was called out while trying to get back to second base in the seventh inning. The Pirates challenged, but the call was upheld after a 2-minute, 59-second review.
Pirates: Cole threw 100 pitches in his first start, 62 for strikes.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was in the lineup for the second straight day after missing two games with a stomach ailment. He singled home a run.
On tap today
Pirates: Jeff Locke makes his first start. He’s 3-3 career against the Reds in 11 starts with a 3.32 ERA. He was 1-2 in four starts against them last season, giving up 10 earned runs in 21 innings.
Reds: RH Tim Melville makes his major league debut, the second Reds starter to do so in the opening week along with Robert Stephenson. The 26-year-old Melville has played in the Royals’ and Tigers’ farm systems and signed a minor league deal with Cincinnati I last November.