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).
On the pitching side, Cole got the win, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits. He struck out eight without issuing a walk.