Cole will make his first start in eight days Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks looking to help the Pirates match their longest home win streak of the season.
Pittsburgh (71-49) earned just one win on its six-game trek, 5-1 against St. Louis on Wednesday, and closed out that trip with a 6-5 defeat in 12 innings the next day. The loss cut the Pirates' NL Central lead over the Cardinals to two games but they're looking to add to that advantage during a brief stay at home.
Pittsburgh has won five straight - and 12 of 15 - at PNC Park and should have a refreshed Cole on the mound for the series opener against Arizona (62-57). The Pirates used Monday's off day to give their right-hander a break and try to limit his innings.
"We prefer ... (for Cole not) to leave the game after five innings, but pick our spots," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's website. "The way we mapped it out for him, he'll make three starts through the end of the month instead of four. We knocked an entire start out, knocked another 100 pitches off the plate. We'll look to trim in other places as well."
Cole (5-5, 3.95 ERA) gave up a career-high four runs over five innings in his most recent start Aug. 8 against Miami, but he avoided a third straight loss when his teammates rallied to force extra innings in a 5-4 win. He has lost five of his last six decisions after winning each of his first four starts.
Cole will make his first start against an Arizona team that used three late comebacks for a home sweep of Baltimore earlier this week. The Diamondbacks, however, couldn't make a dent in their 7 1/2-game deficit to the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Aaron Hill had the winning and tying singles in a 5-4 victory in 14 innings Wednesday, his sixth multihit performance in the last seven games. Arizona trailed after the sixth inning in all three matchups with the Orioles and rallied from a three-run deficit in the series finale.
"These three games are bringing the confidence a little bit up," infielder Martin Prado told the team's website. "We were a little bit down, but actually we're starting to believe we can do this, keep battling until the end."
Brandon McCarthy (2-6, 4.73) will seek to snap a three-game skid with a better performance against Pittsburgh. The right-hander has allowed two runs in each of his two outings since returning from inflammation in his pitching shoulder but he's received a combined one run of support.
He lasted seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets on Saturday.
McCarthy was tagged for six runs and a season-high 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings in his only start against the Pirates, a 6-5 loss April 9. Pittsburgh will try to get to him again while recording its first six-game home win streak since May 19-30.
Marte was 6 for 13 (.462) with two doubles and a triple as Pittsburgh won two of three in Arizona from April 8-10.
|August 12, 2013||Cody Ross||15-Day DL||Dislocated right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Cody Ross||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right hip|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|July 26, 2013||Aaron Hill||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|July 09, 2013||Eric Chavez||Day-to-Day||Stiff right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Starling Marte||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hand|
|July 28, 2013||Travis Snider||15-Day DL||Left big toe discomfort|
|July 28, 2013||Michael McKenry||15-Day DL||Left knee surgery - out for season|
|July 23, 2013||Jason Grilli||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Neil Walker||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 07, 2013||Neil Walker||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- 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 thing people here talking 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 major league 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 one 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-all 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 in Walker to 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 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 Saturday'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. ... Pittsburgh signed RHP Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league contract as a free agent and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. The 15-year veteran was released Aug. 9 by Tampa Bay.