Gerrit Cole had a memorable debut as he pitched into the seventh inning and hit a two-run single to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates in an 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants in the opener of a three-game set at PNC Park.
Cole (1-0) was taken by the Yankees in the first round of the 2008 draft, but chose to play in college at UCLA and was chosen first overall by Pittsburgh in the 2011 draft.
"I wasn't nervous before the game and that was kind of weird," said Cole. "The guys made some nice defensive plays and I was able to get a hit, so that helps."
The 22-year-old didn't disappoint as he escaped jams in the first two innings then set San Francisco down in order in the next four frames. He finished his outing responsible for two runs on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings of work.
"It shows you that he can pitch," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "This is his first start and everyone is going to be real excited to see him out there."
Pedro Alvarez went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run, three RBI and two runs scored while Starling Marte hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who had dropped four of six coming in.
Tim Lincecum (4-6) continued to struggle on the road as he gave up four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits with a pair of walks in just 4 2/3 innings. He fell to 1-3 in six outings away from home on the season.
"I was throwing some bad pitches that weren't even near the zone," said Lincecum. "And the ones I did get over there they were able to get good swings on."
Brett Pill and Tony Abreu each drove in a run for the Giants, who had taken two of three in Arizona over the weekend.
After Cole pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the second, he helped his own cause in the bottom of the frame with a bases-loaded single, scoring two runs for a 2-0 lead.
San Francisco went down in order the next four innings and the Pirates added to their lead in the fifth.
With one out, Andrew McCutchen walked and Garrett Jones followed with a liner to right. The ball short-hopped in front of Hunter Pence, who failed to field the ball and it rolled to the wall, allowing McCutchen to score and Jones to reach third. Alvarez later singled for a 4-0 lead.
Marte's two-out solo homer in the sixth, his sixth of the year, gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead, but the Giants finally got on the board in the seventh.
After the first two batters reached base, Joaquin Arias hit into a fielder's choice that saw a force at second leaving runners on the corners. Abreu then doubled to right to plate Andres Torres.
That was the end of the night for Cole as Tony Watson took the mound. After giving up a groundout to Pill that scored Arias and hitting Marco Scutaro with a pitch, Vin Mazzaro took over and got Buster Posey to hit into a fielder's choice to end the frame.
The Pirates answered in the seventh to put the game out of reach as Russell Martin singled in McCutchen and Alvarez hit his 14th home run of the year for an 8-2 lead.
Bryan Morris pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and threw around a one-out single in the ninth to close the game.
Before the game, the Giants put third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the 15-day disabled list with a nagging left foot strain. The team recalled infielder Nick Noonan from Triple-A Fresno to take Sandoval's spot ... These two teams split six games last season ... Pittsburgh hit 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position ... Lincecum fell to 1-3 in six games against the Pirates.