Gerrit Cole 's new teammates caught a glimpse of his potential during spring training and came away impressed.
They'll likely think even more highly of him if the former No. 1 overall pick shines consistently at the major league level.
Pittsburgh has believed the 22-year-old right-hander is the team's future ace since drafting him out of UCLA in 2011, and his performance during camp sure didn't quell those notions.
Catcher Russell Martin is ready to see what Cole can do at the major league level after he went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA this season in 12 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis.
"I caught him a couple of times in spring training, and I like his makeup and his attitude," Martin told the team's official website. "In my opinion, he's going to be a good pitcher for a long time, so this will be start No. 1 of a hopefully long and prosperous career."
The Pirates (37-26), who haven't finished .500 since winning their last division title in 1992, are hoping Cole can add another strong arm to their pitching staff. Pittsburgh already ranks third in the majors with a 3.24 ERA.
Cole's first test will be against defending World Series champion San Francisco, which is starting to heat up offensively. Cole won't see one of the Giants' biggest bats, though, after third baseman Pablo Sandoval was placed on the disabled list Tuesday because of a strained left foot.
San Francisco recalled infielder Nick Noonan from Triple-A Fresno to replace the reigning World Series MVP
The Giants (33-29) averaged 2.3 runs while dropping seven of 10 before beating Arizona 10-5 on Saturday and 6-2 on Sunday."We're a better offensive team than what we've been doing the last couple of weeks," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Every team goes through it. We went through a tough stretch here. It's good to see the bats come to life."
Marco Scutaro homered in the finale and went 6 for 12 in the series."We played good defense with good pitching and we scored some runs," Scutaro said. "Hopefully we can keep doing that for the next series."
The Pirates have had some offensive woes of their own, scoring two runs or fewer eight times over their last 12 contests after falling 4-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
They'll try to bounce back against Tim Lincecum , who has been prone to giving up plenty of runs.
Lincecum (4-5, 4.75 ERA) had lost three straight starts while posting an 8.27 ERA, but he's coming off possibly his best outing of the season. He allowed one run and three hits in seven innings of last Tuesday's 2-1 win over Toronto."That is more the Timmy that we know," Bochy said.
The right-hander has mixed in a few other solid starts this season, but he's given up at least four runs in seven of his 12 outings."I've said it before, I'm not jumping up and down right now (after last week's start)," Lincecum said. "Tomorrow's another day for work."
Lincecum didn't fare very well the last time he faced Pittsburgh on July 8 at PNC Park, giving up six runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 13-2 loss.
The Giants lost three of the final four meetings of 2012 with the Pirates, scoring two runs or fewer in each defeat.
|San Francisco Giants|
|May 28, 2013||Angel Pagan||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 26, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Mild hamstring strain|
|May 21, 2013||Santiago Casilla||15-Day DL||Cyst on right knee|
|May 21, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||60-Day DL||Fractured right hand - out 6-8 weeks|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken right hand|
|May 08, 2013||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee|
|June 06, 2013||Jared Hughes||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 03, 2013||Phil Irwin||60-Day DL||Right arm fatigue|
|June 03, 2013||Jeanmar Gomez||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|May 28, 2013||Jose Contreras||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|May 25, 2013||Jose Tabata||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique - out 3-4 weeks|
|May 19, 2013||Andrew McCutchen||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Gerrit Cole wasn't feeling nervous in the hours leading up to his major league debut. And that made him nervous.
"I couldn't understand it," Cole said. "It made me a little worried."
Cole had nothing to be worried about as he took a shutout into the seventh inning and hit a two-run single in his first at-bat Tuesday night, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in front of a festive crowd.
The top pick in the 2011 draft, Cole allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings after being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. He began his highly touted career with a three-pitch strikeout - all 96 mph fastballs - of Gregor Blanco and struck out two overall. He did not walk a batter.
"Really, I couldn't have asked for anything better," Cole said. "The guys played great defense and we scored a lot runs. I was able to take us pretty deep into the game and I even got lucky and got a hit. It's tough to draw it up any better than this."
Pedro Alvarez went 3 for 3 with a home run to back Cole. Starling Marte also homered and Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin had two hits each.
San Francisco put two runners on in the first and loaded the bases in the second against Cole (1-0) but failed to score in either inning.
Cole then set down 13 in a row, starting with Marco Scutaro 's flyout to end the second. The Giants finally broke through in the seventh inning but the Pirates had built a 5-0 lead by then.
"There was no deer-in-the-headlight look from him at all," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "He worked quick, he worked efficiently, he threw strikes and that is all good things for a defense. He's a lot more polished than a lot of guys who have gotten their start in the big leagues."
Many of the 30,614 in attendance cheered every move made by the pitcher who is expected to be the Pirates ace of the future. The only time Cole seemed unsure is when he walked off the mound in the seventh inning and did not tip his cap.
"I didn't want to draw attention to myself," Cole said. "I just wanted to put my head down and walk off but it felt great to have all the fans cheering and giving me such a great ovation."
Cole certainly made an impression on the Giants.
"We knew he had big-time talent and he showed it," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good command of his pitches, he located pretty well and did a good job of keeping us off balance with his breaking pitch to go with the fastball."
The sizable crowd for a weekday game, though, caused problems for the organization, which instituted a new security measure for fans entering the stadium. The use of electronic wands slowed down the entrance procedure and Pirates President Frank Coonelly issued an apology during the game.
"We made the decision several weeks ago to enhance the security at the gates beginning with tonight's game, but unfortunately we failed in our preparation and execution. We stopped the wanding procedure at the start of the game and were able to clear the lines at the gates by the end of first inning," Coonelly said in a statement. "The experience was simply unacceptable and we will ensure this does not happen again."
Tim Lincecum (4-6) gave up four runs - two earned - on seven hits in 4 2-3 innings while striking out four and walking two. It was the two-time Cy Young Award winner's fourth loss in his last five starts.
San Francisco reliever George Kontos , who gave up a two-run home run to Alvarez in the seventh inning, was ejected for hitting McCutchen with a pitch in rear end in the eighth. There were a total of four hit batters in the game.
Cole snapped a scoreless tie when he lined a two-run single into right field in the second inning with one out and the bases loaded. Cole did not have hit during his two seasons in the minor leagues, going 0 for 6 with three strikeouts.
"I got totally lucky there," Cole said with a grin. "That's my first hit since high school. It's been a long time and I wasn't expected it."
Martin, Alvarez and Walker singled to load the bases with no out. After first baseman Brandon Belt reached two rows into the stands to catch Clint Barmes ' foul pop, Cole delivered in his first plate appearance.
Lincecum was knocked out during a two-run fifth that pushed Pittsburgh to a 4-0 lead.
McCutchen walked with one and scored from first when right fielder Hunter Pence misplayed Garrett Jones ' single on a low liner for a two-base error. Jones then scored on Alvarez's infield.
Marte's solo home run, his sixth, made it 5-0 in the sixth.
Three of the Giants' first four batters in the seventh had hits, including pinch-hitter Tony Abreu , whose one-out RBI double broke up Cole's shutout bid and ended his night. San Francisco closed to 5-2 when pinch-hitter Brett Pill drove in a run with a ground out.
The Pirates answered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to increase the lead to 8-2. Martin singled in a run and Alvarez hit his two-run homer, his 14th.
"We put some pressure on (Cole) early but we just couldn't get the big two-out hits when we needed them," Bochy said. "We didn't take advantage of what opportunities we had."
NOTES: San Francisco placed 3B Pablo Sandoval on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in his left foot and recalled INF Nick Noonan from Triple-A Fresno. Arias started at third base. . Pittsburgh placed LHP Wandy Rodriguez on the 15-day DL with tightness in his left forearm to open a roster spot for Cole. RHP Charlie Morton , who had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last June, is expected to come off the DL and pitch Thursday against the Giants in Rodriguez's place. . Giants LHP Barry Zito (4-4, 4.06) faces Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (4-2, 1.75) on Wednesday night.