BRADENTON, Fla. -- Starling Marte hit a three-run homer and Andrew McCutchen drove in another run to back right-hander Gerrit Cole in his first start of the spring, and the Pirates beat the Tigers, 9-5, on Sunday afternoon at McKechnie Field.
On a windy day, Cole surrendered two solo homers in two innings on the mound. Anthony Gose led off the game with a wind-aided shot to right-center field, and Tigers roster hopeful Casey McGehee drove a liner to left-center in the second inning.
"I thought it was pretty good. Just try to get out there, get a feel for the mound, get a feel for competing again, get a feel for the speed of the game," Cole said. "We definitely accomplished those things."
The Pirates gained the lead in a four-run third inning. Josh Harrison turned a would-be comebacker into a hustle double, Jordy Mercer singled and McCutchen drove in Harrison with a hard-hit single to left.
That brought up Marte, who crushed a three-run shot to right-center field off Tigers starter Matt Boyd.
"Tried a backdoor slider early, and it kind of backed up on me a little bit," Boyd said of the home run to Marte. "The way the wind was today, there's no room for error. If I make that pitch a little better, we're probably out of the inning."
Boyd, who is competing for a spot in the Tigers' rotation, allowed four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three over 3 2/3 innings.
"Best I've felt so far, probably, in a start," he said. "Results don't really say that, but it's the best I've felt. I felt the things I've been working on really showed, and I've got some things to work on going forward."
The Bucs took back the lead in the later innings, as catching prospect Elias Diaz singled home a run in the sixth and non-roster outfielder Danny Ortiz doubled in Adam Frazier in the seventh.
Diaz provided some insurance for the Pirates in the eighth, swatting a two-run homer to left off right-hander Preston Guilmet for the fifth home run of the game.
Up next for Tigers: The battle for the fifth spot in Detroit's rotation heats up once more Monday, when Daniel Norris and Shane Greene take the mound against the Mets in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Norris will get the start with Greene pitching in relief, flipping roles from their previous turn last Tuesday against Tampa Bay, but both will be stretched out. The radio broadcast will be available on MLB Gameday Audio and on AM 1270 in Detroit.