MLB: PIRATES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2 -- Cole, Tabata steer Pirates back on track
PITTSBURGH — Jose Tabata heard all the rumors in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline and understood the significance of slugging prospect Andrew Lambo being called up this week.
“I know people are saying the Pittsburgh Pirates need a right fielder,” Tabata said. “It makes me feel like I’ve got to do something. Whatever the front office wants to do, that’s their thing. I just want to help my team win.”
Tabata did that Friday night with a two-run homer, and rookie Gerrit Cole pitched six solid innings to lead the Pirates over the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-2.
Tabata’s drive was his fourth of the season and came off J.J. Putz in the eighth inning, putting the NL Central-leading Pirates ahead by four. Tabata connected a day after he came off the bench and had three hits in a 12-inning loss at St. Louis.
Lambo had started the previous three games in right field after having his contract selected from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. However, Tabata got a chance to get back into the lineup Friday night after getting three hits off the bench Thursday against the Cardinals.
Tabata, who is hitting .269, sent an opposite-field shot to right after Gaby Sanchez doubled.
“It’s always a good sign for Jose to drive a ball the other way like that,” Clint Hurdle said. “That’s the gift he’s brought to the game since he’s been a young player. That’s one of the first things I saw in 2010 when I was (the hitting coach) with the Texas Rangers and they played the Pirates. That’s one of the first things people here talked to me about when I became the manager.
“He squared some balls up in St. Louis and hit a ball hard tonight. That puts him in a good spot where he’s aggressive in the batter’s box right now.”
Cole (6-5) was pitching on eight days of rest. He had his previous turn in the rotation skipped in part to allow veteran A.J. Burnett to pitch Thursday against the Cardinals and also to get extra rest.
The 22-year-old Cole has pitched 140 innings between the major leagues and minor leagues in his second professional season. The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
The first overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft won for just the second time in his last seven decisions after winning the first four starts of his career.
“It was tough to get a feel for the breaking ball,” Cole said when asked about the effect of extra rest. “I threw some good ones but there were others where I wasn’t totally committed to trusting it would break.”
“Having more days off is something I’ve got to attack, though. It’s going to happen again. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to.”
Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen had two hits each for Pittsburgh.
Brandon McCarthy (2-7) lost his fourth straight decision, giving up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
“The whole thing felt like I was in a fight,” McCarthy said. “I was able to command my sinker, but that was about it. My cutter was as bad as I can remember it in a long time.”
Martin Prado had two of Arizona’s five hits.
Pittsburgh broke a 2-2 tie and moved in front for good with a two-run fifth.
Marte doubled with one out and scored on Neil Walker’s double. McCutchen then singled to score Walker and make it 4-2.
Pedro Alvarez’s two-run single put the Pirates ahead 2-0 in the third. The hit scored Walker, who had walked, and McCutchen, who had doubled.
Arizona answered with two runs in the fourth. Cole walked Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill with one out, and they scored on singles by Prado and A.J. Pollock.
After winning three straight games against Baltimore in their final at-bat, the Diamondbacks didn’t have the same magic against Pittsburgh’s bullpen as Jeanmar Gomez and Mark Melancon combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
“Cole threw the ball good, moved the ball in and out very good, had good velocity, the ball was moving,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson.
NOTES: RHP Trevor Cahill (3-10, 4.66 ERA) is expected to be activated from the disabled list and start today’s game against Pittsburgh LHP Jeff Locke (9-3, 2.43). Cahill has been out since July 1 with a bruised right hip. ... Diamondbacks SS Didi Gregorius did not start after going 8-for-47 (.170) in his previous 14 games. Cliff Pennington took his place.