D-backs strike early to defeat Pirates

D-backs strike early to defeat Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The D-backs tagged ace Gerrit Cole for four early runs and defused a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh inning as they beat the Pirates, 4-1, on Monday night at PNC Park.

Arizona forced Cole to work right away, scoring two runs in a 30-pitch first inning. The D-backs added another in the second, when starter Jeremy Hellickson singled in a run. Jake Lamb made it a four-run game in the fourth, sending a home run to center field.

"If you don't come out locating the ball early, they're going to punish you," said Cole, who fell to 14-7 on the year as the Pirates' four-game winning streak came to an end.

Following a strong eight-inning outing against the Phillies on Tuesday, Hellickson held the Pirates to one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Pirates had a chance to climb back in the game in the seventh, loading the bases with two singles and a walk. But Addison Reed struck out Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte flied out to end the threat.

Reed gets out of trouble

The Pirates threatened again in the eighth, putting two men on with two outs and Pedro Alvarez at the plate, but Daniel Hudson struck out Alvarez to escape another potential jam.

Hudson strikes out Alvarez

Two in a row for Hellickson: Coming off his best start as a D-back, Hellickson once again seemed to have his signature curveball working. It wasn't until the sixth inning when he seemed to run out of gas and was visited by a team trainer after his glute muscle tightened up him. Hellickson was sick to his stomach on the team's flight from Atlanta on Sunday night and still felt the effects Monday.

Hellickson shaken up

"Got sick on the plane, so I didn't really hydrate too much last night" Hellickson said. "And today I couldn't really eat. Tried to hydrate as much as I could today. It's tough when you don't hydrate the night before."

Pedro pulls one over the wall: Hellickson retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced before Alvarez finally put the Pirates on the board with one out in the fifth inning. Alvarez unloaded on a 2-0 curveball from Hellickson, launching a high fly ball into the first row of the right-field seats for his team-leading 19th homer. More >

Delgado to the rescue: Prior to the game, D-backs manager Chip Hale said one of the reasons the team activated Randall Delgado from the DL a bit earlier than planned was because of his ability to work out of jams in the middle innings. That's just what the right-hander did in the sixth when he came on with runners on first and second and retired Aramis Ramirez and Jung Ho Kang to end the threat.

"We feel really comfortable in the middle of the game with guys in scoring position," Hale said. "He has the pitches to get them out, and he has proven to be one of our best guys there." More >

Cervelli slows D-backs: The Pirates threw out two would-be basestealers at second, with catcher Francisco Cervelli nailing David Peralta in the sixth and Chris Owings in the seventh. They were the Pirates' first thwarted stolen-base attempts since July 9, snapping a streak of 35 straight successful steals.

Cervelli throws out Owings

"Bright spot of the game. You get more out of what you put your focus on," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to get it done tonight. Cervelli's got plenty enough arm to throw guys out when we give him a shot, and it was evident by the way we were able to take care of a couple baserunners this evening."

"He worked slow. He's been doing that since I knew him in Tampa Bay. But today was really slow." -- Cervelli, on Hellickson's deliberate pace

The Pirates have hit a home run in a season-high 11 straight games, their longest such streak since going deep in 11 straight from June 23-July 3, 2012. Alvarez's solo blast was also the Pirates' 1,000th in the 15-year history of PNC Park.

With one out in the fourth inning, Lamb swatted a 2-1 fastball from Cole over the center-field fence. The umpires initiated a crew chief review to determine whether a fan interfered with the home run ball before it landed. After a two-minute, one-second review, the call on the field was confirmed, and Lamb trotted home with his fifth homer of the season.

Peralta singled to lead off the sixth inning then appeared to successfully steal second base. But the Pirates challenged the call, which was overturned after a one-minute, 57-second review.

Cervelli nabs Peralta

D-backs: Chase Anderson will look to rebound from a rough start when he faces off against the Pirates on Tuesday night at 4:05 p.m. MST. Last time out against the Phillies, Anderson allowed five runs in five innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.

Pirates: Left-hander Francisco Liriano will look to repeat his recent success against the D-backs when the Pirates return to PNC Park on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Liriano is 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three career starts against Arizona, and he fired 6 1/3 scoreless innings in an 8-0 win against the D-backs at Chase Field on April 26.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.