PITTSBURGH (AP) — Gerrit Cole never obsessed about pitching a complete game, but was happy to get his first one.
Cole pitched a three-hitter and slumping Andrew McCutchen had a three-run home run among his three hits as the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled to a 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
“It was good, a really good feeling,” Cole said. “You try to do it every time out but it’s not something I had been dwelling on. There are lot of variables that can leak into any start and throw you astray, so you just focus on the things you can control like your delivery and making quality pitches.”
Cole threw 94 pitches, 70 for strikes, against a Mariners’ lineup stacked with seven left-handed hitters and a switch-hitter while becoming the first Pirates pitcher to complete a game with fewer than 100 pitches since Francisco Liriano, who also needed just 94 at St. Louis on Aug. 14, 2013.
“He put his foot down and pitched,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s as efficient as I’ve seen him since he’s been here. Twenty pitches the first inning, 74 for the other eight. Really good outing.”
McCutchen’s three-run blast off David Rollins came in the eighth inning and capped the scoring. His 15th home run of the season pushed the nine-year veteran’s career total to 166, tying Dave Parker for fifth on the Pirates’ all-time list.
McCutchen, who also doubled, had gone 4 for 29 with eight strikeouts in his previous seven games, dropping the 2013 NL MVP’s batting average to .241.
“I felt something (good), that’s for sure,” McCutchen said. “I’m just going to stick with this and keep going. It was a good day for me as far as the feel goes, and had the results with it. Hopefully, it can propel me into these last couple of months of the season.”
McCutchen and Jung Ho Kang, who hit a three-run double to finish a four-run seventh inning, each had four RBIs to help the Pirates win for the sixth time in nine games. Jordy Mercer also had three of the Pirates’ 14 hits and David Freese and Starling Marte added two each as the top four in the order went a combined 10 for 17.
Kang greeted reliever Nathan Karns with his double that pushed the Pirates’ lead to 7-1.
Kang also earlier hit a sacrifice fly off James Paxton (3-5) to finish a three-run third inning that broke a scoreless tie.
Paxton gave up three runs and six hits in five innings, striking out six and walking one.
Drew Storen made his Mariners debut and was charged with four runs in a 1 1/3 innings a night after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade for fellow reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Norichika Aoki hit a pair of doubles and scored the Mariners’ lone run in the sixth inning on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly. Seattle had won five of its previous seven games.
“Cole threw the ball really well,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Tip your hat to him.”
Mariners: DH/OF Nelson Cruz was not in the lineup after fouling a ball off his left foot Tuesday night, though manager Scott Servais said he held the slugger out primarily because the designated hitter rule was not in effect in an NL park. … RHP Taijuan Walker (right foot tendinitis) pitched a three-inning simulated game Wednesday, the first time he had faced hitters since going on the disabled list July 6, and will likely make a minor league rehab start this weekend. … RHP Nick Vincent (mid-back strain), on the DL since June 27, will throw off a mound for the first time Friday since being injured and is likely to go on a rehab assignment next week.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (shoulder inflammation), who was placed on the disabled list Sunday, is expected to begin playing catch this weekend. … C Chris Stewart (left knee discomfort) ran the bases Wednesday for the first since going on the DL on July 2 and could go on a rehab assignment by the middle of next week. … RHP Ryan Vogelsong (facial fractures) made what was scheduled to be the last of two rehab starts for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday night and allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings against Gwinett with one walk and two strikeouts in the International League. He also started twice for Double-A Altoona.
Mariners: Open a three-game series against the Cubs at Chicago on Friday with RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 3.96 ERA) looking to win his sixth straight start as he faces LHP Jon Lester (10-4, 3.09).
Pirates: Begin a three-game series Friday night at Milwaukee with LHP Steven Brault (0-1, 2.25) expected to be recalled from Indianapolis and make his second major league start, opposing Brewers RHP Junior Guerra (6-2, 2.85).