Cole fires 3 2/3 hitless frames in Mesa's win
Top overall pick in the 2011 Draft fans four in third AFL start
Mesa starter Gerrit Cole showed Scottsdale some of the talent that made him the top pick in this year's Draft on Wednesday afternoon.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander yielded one unearned run over 3 2/3 no-hit innings as the Solar Sox outlasted the visiting Scorpions, 10-5. He struck out four, walked one and threw 54 pitches -- 36 for strikes.
"I had pretty good fastball location today and my change-up was working well," the 21-year-old UCLA product said.
It was Cole's second appearance against Scottsdale. The Pirates prospect limited the Scorpions to two hits in three scoreless frames last Thursday.
"It helped to have seen some of their hitters last week," Cole said. "We don't get much in the way of scouting reports and I've obviously never seen most of these guys before, so it's pretty much mano-a-mano with every hitter."
On Wednesday, Cole retired the first eight batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk to Ryan Dent (Red Sox) in the third inning. Cole then fanned Tyson Gillies (Phillies) to end the inning.
Cole (2-0) got Scottsdale leadoff man Juan Carlos Linares (Red Sox) to line out to third base to open the fourth. After Brandon Crawford reached on a fielding error at second by fellow Pirates prospect Jarek Cunningham, Cole got Hank Conger (Angels) to fly out to left. Having reached his pitch count, the Solar Sox starter gave way to reliever Marcus Hatley (Cubs).
The Solar Sox offense had by then given Cole a comfortable cushion, with a run in the first, three in the second and four more in the third. Seven of Mesa's nine batters had at least one RBI and Aaron Hicks (Twins), Brandon Short and Michael Blanke (both of the White Sox) each went deep.
Scottsdale got on the board shortly after Cole's exit. Hatley gave up a single to Derek Norris (Nationals), then the top pick in the previous year's Draft, Washington's Bryce Harper, blasted a three-run shot over the wall in right-center for his second homer of the AFL season.
Harper singled in the sixth and drove in a fourth run on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. Linares added a solo shot in the eighth and Dent doubled twice.
Scorpions starter Chris Scholl, who had pitched five shutout innings against Mesa last Wednesday, did not fare as well in the rematch. The Angels right-hander fell to 0-2 after giving up seven runs -- six earned -- on six hits over 2 2/3 frames. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Mesa improved to 4-1 against the defending-champion Scorpions this season. The two clubs meet again Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium.
John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.