Pirates gain a game on Cardinals with 5-2 win

One swing of the bat by Ike Davis returned the game Tuesday night to the Pirates.

Davis launched a pinch-hit, three-run home run over the center-field wall in the eighth inning Tuesday night to lead the Pirates to a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The homer salvaged a brilliant start by Gerrit Cole, which, for six innings, at least, was reminiscent of the way he stormed through last September as a rookie.

Cole didn't surrender a hit until the sixth, but gave up two to open the seventh, leaving runners on the corners when manager Clint Hurdle went to his bullpen with Cole's pitch count at 108.

"I thought he pitched a great ballgame. Complete control. One hit through six," said Hurdle. "We had figured out an extra day he'd go 115 pitches and we ran him back out there. Two quick hits? That was enough."

A night after the Cardinals came back to haunt the Pirates bullpen, they did it again, tying the score in the seventh on a sacrifice fly and back-to-back singles against left-hander Tony Watson.

The Pirates had led, 2-0, going into the seventh after an RBI grounder from Clint Barmes in the fourth and a solo home run from Josh Harrison in the fifth.

Davis was not happy with a called strike on a sinker on the outside of the plate two pitches earlier that put him in a 1-2 hole. But, after an off-speed pitch in the dirt, he got hold of an elevated changeup by reliever Seth Maness.

"It was close enough to call a strike. I didn't want to get two strikes without putting the ball in play off the bench," said Davis. "I kind of forgot about it, cleared my head when I got out of the box. Got back in there and tried to have a good at-bat ... kind of left a change-up a little higher than he wanted, and I hit it pretty good."

The bad news, though, is that Andrew McCutchen left the game in the sixth with "left rib discomfort" presumably after slamming into the center-field wall to make a spectacular catch in the third. Then, Pedro Alvarez, who had just begun to heat up at the plate, left with "left foot discomfort," and had a walking boot on his foot when he left the ballpark.

"It was a mixture of everything," McCutchen said. "It wasn't the wall necessarily. I'm not 100 percent. The wall definitely didn't help. It was a mixture of everything, of every day grinding it out."

McCutchen and Alvarez will be re-evaluated today, according to the team. Hurdle called Alvarez's ailment a left foot sprain between a pair of toes.

McCutchen returned from the disabled list exactly one week earlier from an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of the 11th rib. He repeatedly has said he has felt "good enough" to play, but has never said he felt 100 percent.

He had two at-bats after slamming into the wall to rob Matt Carpenter of a hit. He seemed to pause momentarily after the catch and took his time coming off the field.

"Physically, it takes the body six weeks for a bone to heal," said McCutchen. "I'd be lying to you if I said I'm healed. I know I'm not. ... I'm just playing hurt right now."

Cole struck out four through two innings and finished with nine.

"I felt good. I just wish I was more efficient. I kind of ran out of bullets there toward the end," said Cole.

Kolten Wong ended Cole's no-hit bid with a two-out double to right field in the sixth, but Cole struck out Matt Holliday with a curveball to end the inning. Cole returned in the seventh, but was removed after giving up a double to Matt Adams and a single to Jhonny Peralta.

Jenn Menendez jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter @JennMenendez. First Published August 26, 2014 10:10 PM

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