Pirates rookie faces familiar face

If you think Pittsburgh Pirates fans were eagerly anticipating Gerrit Cole’s major league debut Tuesday night, imagine how Amy Crawford must have felt.

Amy Crawford is Cole’s girlfriend and the sister of San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started and batted seventh against him.



While Cole had a crowd-pleasing debut — allowing two earned runs over 6-1/3 innings in Pittsburgh’s 8-2 win over San Francisco — Crawford held his own. After flying out and grounding out in his first two-bats, Crawford lined a single to left field off Cole in the seventh inning.

So, Cole won two of the three rounds — and the game. Crawford has a World Series ring and more big-league service time. That should result in (somewhat) even bragging rights.

Crawford and Cole both played baseball at UCLA, although not at the same time. (Amy Crawford attended UCLA, as well, and played softball.) The 2011 Arizona Fall League was the only other time the two faced each other. Cole said he couldn’t remember the results of those head-to-head encounters but added, “I think his first hit was tonight.”

Cole, 22, and Crawford, 26, unexpectedly had one occasion to converse during the game: Cole, who said he hadn’t recorded a hit since high school, drove in the game’s first runs with a bases-loaded single in the second inning. When Cole reached second base later in the inning, Crawford teased him.

“He said he was going to try to pick me off,” Cole said. “I was like, ‘Oh, crap.’ So I got really short (with my lead). Then (coach Nick) Leyva yelled at me at third base and said, ‘Get off!’ Brandon just started laughing.”

Otherwise, the two didn’t speak much during the game. Cole acknowledged that part of the reason could have been the four hit batsmen, two on each side. The friction escalated after Pittsburgh reliever Tony Watson hit Marco Scutaro and injured his left hand. Giants reliever George Kontos appeared to hit Andrew McCutchen on purpose in the eighth inning, resulting in the ejections of Kontos and San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy.

“He was focused; I was focused,” Cole said of his interaction with Crawford. “The ballgame got a little tense at the end. There was some interesting things going on in terms of that, but I’m sure if I was more comfortable out there I maybe would have talked more.”

As Cole prepared to leave PNC Park on Tuesday night, he said he’d be seeing Crawford at dinner. He didn’t know if they would talk about what happened in the game or not.

“We’re just going to have a good time,” Cole said.