ATLANTA (AP) — Adam Frazier got the Pirates’ first rally going in the fifth inning with a 13-pitch at-bat. He finished off the Braves in the sixth with a two-run single.
“The 13-pitch at-bat was probably the longest we’ve had all season,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think he’s got a very good internal clock for the game and he’s very aggressive.”
Jung Ho Kang doubled home the tiebreaking run in a four-run sixth to lead Gerrit Cole and Pittsburgh past the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Matt Kemp went 0 for 4 and ended the game with a strikeout in his Atlanta debut.
Cole was coming off the first complete game of his career, a 10-1 win over Seattle last Wednesday. He wasn’t as dominant this time, but didn’t need to be against the major leagues’ worst offense.
Cole (7-6) struck out four and allowed seven hits, two walks and two runs — one earned — in five innings. He threw 97 pitches, four more than he did in his complete game.
He insisted the muggy conditions weren’t a factor in his early exit.
“No, I switched my jersey three times tonight,” Cole said. “Other than that, it’s the middle of summer. It’s going to be hot.”
Tony Watson, in his first game as Pirates closer since Mark Melancon’s trade to Washington, earned his first save since April 22, 2015.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz didn’t allow a hit until the fifth, but he squandered a 1-0 lead after his 82 mph changeup hit Francisco Cervelli in the left side of the helmet. Frazier doubled on the 13th pitch he saw, and pinch-runner Jeff Fryer scored on Jordy Mercer’s RBI groundout.
Matt Joyce’s RBI single in the sixth made it 2-all. Kang put the Pirates up 3-2 and chased Foltynewicz. Frazier singled off Jose Ramirez to give Pittsburgh a 5-2 lead.
Foltynewicz (4-5) allowed four hits, five runs, three walks and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings.
“That first couple of innings is probably the best I’ve felt and the most confident I’ve felt all year,” he said. “It’s just that the last four or five outings have (had) one big inning that’s hurt me. So if I can do a better job of controlling that, it’s going to be all right.”
The Braves led 2-1 in the fifth after Nick Markakis’ RBI single. They went up 1-0 in the fourth. A.J. Pierzynski’s grounder stayed in the infield after it bounced off the arm of Frazier, the second baseman, but it was surprisingly scored an RBI double.
Markakis cut the lead to 5-3 in the eighth with his sixth homer.
Kemp left five runners on base. Felipe Rivero struck him out to strand runners in scoring position in the seventh. The Braves acquired Kemp in a trade with San Diego on Saturday.
Freddie Freeman went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and left six runners on.
Pirates: Cervelli initially insisted he was fine after getting hit by Foltynewicz’s pitch and went to first base after getting checked out by a trainer. He called timeout before Frazier, the next batter, took a pitch and Cervelli then left the game.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. He was originally injured during a four-inning start July 22 at Colorado.
Pirates: LHP Jeff Locke (8-6) is 2-2 with a 4.89 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Rob Whalen will make his major league debut.