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Grit Index: Cole holds D-backs offense at bay in Pirates' victory

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second inning of a baseball game on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Thud.

That's the sound of the Arizona Diamondbacks' momentum hitting a wall Friday night.

That wall came in the form of the Pittsburgh Pirates and their impeccable record (42-20) at PNC Park in 2013.

The D-backs came into their showdown with the National League Central's finest fresh off three straight walk-off wins over the Orioles and five overall against teams with records above .500, but none of that mattered in The Steel City.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole became the second rookie -- joining the Mets' Zack Wheeler -- to dominate (six innings, two runs and five strikeouts) the D-backs lineup this week, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen provided the offense with back-to-back run-scoring hits in the fifth inning, and the Pirates went to win by a final of 6-2.

With the loss, the D-backs fell to a season-high 8.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West standings.

The Good:

Martin Prado continued his hot streak at the plate with two more hits Friday night, including an RBI single in the fourth inning. Prado has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.

Aaron Hill also extended his hit streak to nine games with a single in the second inning.

The Bad:

McCarthy's start against the Pirates served as a microcosm for his entire season.

The 29-year-old looked great at times -- 1-2-3 frames in the second and fourth innings -- and yet in the same outing managed to look terrible -- two runs allowed in third and fifth innings -- at other times.

In all, McCarthy allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings of work. He also walked three and struck out five.

The seven-year veteran hasn't won on the road since May 18.

Noted:

-Jose Tabata's two-run home run off of J.J. Putz in the bottom of the eighth inning marked the first time since July 1 the D-backs reliever allowed an earned run.

-NL MVP candidates head-to-head: Paul Goldschmidt (0-for-3 with a run scored) and Andrew McCutchen (2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored).

-The top three batters in the D-backs lineup went 0-for-11 with three strikeouts.

He Said It:

"Overall I wasn't entirely sharp and didn't put us in good positions. I need to do a better job of pushing through that, though." -- Brandon McCarthy on his start

Up Next:

The D-backs will look to even up their three-game series Saturday afternoon at PNC Park, as right-hander Trevor Cahill (3-10, 4.66 ERA) returns to make his first start since coming off the disabled list. Cahill last pitched on June 30 and hasn't won since May 17. Pittsburgh will send All-Star Jeff Locke to the mound (9-3, 2.43 ERA) in opposition of Cahill. Locke has yet to face the D-backs in his rookie season. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.

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