Pirates starter Gerrit Cole struck out eight Cubs over six innings at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon, but that wasn’t his only contribution to his team’s win, which combined with a Brewers loss to the Cardinals, moved the Pirates back into second place in the NL Central.
In the top of the seventh, with a runner on second base and one out, Cole smoked a Blake Parker first-pitch fastball near the top row of the bleachers in left field, a no doubt two-run home run to push the Pirates’ lead to 10-2. It’s the first home run — and extra-base hit — of the 23-year-old’s career. Among pitchers with at least 30 plate appearances this season, Cole has the third-highest OPS at .569. He trails Travis Wood (.739) and Madison Bumgarner (.726).
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On the pitching side, Cole got the win, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits. He struck out eight without issuing a walk.