What's the best way to answer a run of five losses in six games? By doing what any good team would do and bouncing back with six wins in the next nine games. The Pittsburgh Pirates looked a little over-matched a couple weeks ago, losing two of three against the powerful Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park and then following that up by getting swept in a three game series in Atlanta.
If Pirates fans were feeling a little uneasy, you couldn't really blame them. After 20 straight years of losing, and two consecutive seasons of late summer collapses, any fan would be a little gun-shy. But if Pittsburgh is going to collapse for a third straight season, it doesn't look like the slide has begun just yet.
Rookie pitcher Gerrit Cole had his second straight impressive outing to start his career, going 5 2/3 innings, as the Pirates defeated Los Angeles, 6-3, Sunday afternoon to take two of three in the weekend series.
Prior to the weekend series against the Dodgers, Pittsburgh (41-28) also took two of three from both the Cubs and Giants.
Cole, who pitched 6 1/3 innings against the Giants in his Major League debut Tuesday night at PNC, is now 2-0 so far in his very young career. The impressive outings by the 2011 first overall draft pick couldn't have come at a better time for a starting staff that recently placed veterans A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez on the 15 day disabled list.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez delivered the decisive blow in the bottom of the fifth inning when he smacked a three-run home run over the centerfield wall to give the Pirates a 5-2 lead.