CINCINNATI — On his 10th try, Gerrit Cole finally beat the Cincinnati Reds. And he pretty much had to do it by himself.
Cole ended his career-long futility against the Reds by hitting a homer , pitching seven innings and leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 victory Saturday night.
“That’s the old thing: When something like this happens, you joking say he Little Leagued them,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He shut ‘em out and hit a homer. That’s impressive.”
Cole (11-8) was 0-6 against Cincinnati in nine starts, including a loss earlier this season. He broke through by holding down a lineup that had scored nine runs the previous night. Cole gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter and fanned six.
He also connected for his first homer of the season and the third of his career off Luis Castillo (2-7) in the sixth, getting around on a 95 mph fastball. It was Cole’s first homer since May 26, 2016, against Arizona at PNC Park.
Cole has had so little practice at his home run trot that he stumbled rounding second base.
“I almost broke my ankle at second base and I think (Cincinnati’s) Scooter Gennett was laughing at me,” Cole said. “It doesn’t happen very often. It’s cool being in the box and hearing the sound off the bat.”
The last time an opposing pitcher homered to beat the Reds 1-0 was 1983, when the Dodgers’ Bob Welch connected off Mario Soto, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau provided by the Reds. It was the first time in Pirates history that a pitcher drove in all Pittsburgh’s runs in a shutout victory.
“I made a mental mistake,” Castillo said. “He was leading off and I threw a fastball right down the middle and he hit it out of the park.”
Cole is 8-0 in his last nine road starts. The last Pirates pitcher to win eight straight road decisions was Don Robinson in 1982.