Pirates rely on Cole in Anaheim

Pitching prospect Gerrit Cole will make his first road appearance of the season when he leads the Pittsburgh Pirates into the opener of a three-game series against Jered Weaver and the LA Angels of Anaheim.

Cole is native of Newport Beach, Calif. and made his debut in an 8-2 win over San Francisco on June 11. He allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings that day and followed that performance in Sunday's 6-3 victory over the Dodgers. Cole was reached for three runs through 5 2/3 innings.

The right-hander has three strikeouts to no walks so far.

Pittsburgh split a four-game series at Cincinnati to start a nine-game road trip and handed the Reds a 5-3 setback on Thursday behind a hitting display from Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez finished 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBI for the Pirates, who have won six of their last 10 games.

"The last few days there have been a lot of strikeouts, but we try to take the positive in everything. I think we have been doing a pretty good job of working some pitchers and making them throw a lot of pitches. I think that pays off later in the game," Alvarez said.

Brandon Cumpton pitched five innings for Pittsburgh in his second major league start and allowed two runs -- one earned -- on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Bryan Morris picked up the win for Pittsburgh after coming on for Cumpton in the sixth inning. He allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts before handing the ball over to Tony Watson, who picked up his second save of the season after tossing the final two frames.

The Pirates will also visit Seattle for two games on this trip.

Los Angeles enters this series with the Pirates on a hot note, having won six of the past eight games.

The Angels just won three of four games versus the Mariners and captured a series win with a 10-9 victory on Thursday. Alberto Callaspo forced in the winning run with a walk in the eighth inning, while Mark Trumbo hit a three- run homer and Peter Bourjos went 3-for-4 with a solo shot and three runs scored for the Angels, who got four hits from Mike Trout (4-for-4).

Tommy Hanson lasted just two-plus innings in the start, allowing seven runs on six hits. Scott Downs grabbed the win for getting the final out of the eighth.

Anaheim was able to get to Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who allowed a season- high seven runs -- six earned -- and 12 hits in five innings.

"The important thing is we kept playing baseball. We chipped away at one of the best pitchers in the league. It was a terrific comeback win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Speaking of one of the best pitchers in baseball, Angels ace Weaver looks to stay hot against the Nationals League when he toes the rubber Friday. Weaver is 7-0 with a 1.71 ERA against the Senior Circuit since 2010 and is hoping the past success can get him out of the loss column.

Weaver has dropped back-to-back outings and permitted five runs and seven hits in six innings of Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Yankees. Weaver is 1-3 in six starts with a 4.41 ERA and has never faced the Pirates.

The Angels last faced the Pirates in 2007, when they swept a three-game set at the Big A.