Gerrit Cole has already worked through the distractions that come with the Major League debut of a former No. 1 overall pick. Friday, he'll deal with another first -- a road start -- in his hometown, of all places.
Cole (2-0, 3.75 ERA) will try to stay perfect against the Angels and Jered Weaver (1-3, 4.41) in the first of a three-game set in Anaheim. Cole attended Orange Lutheran High School, roughly a 15-minute car ride from Angel Stadium, and he played ball at UCLA.
"That's gonna be pretty fun," Cole said. "I hope I can go out there and keep doing what I've been doing and have the ball roll our way."
The Pirates' top prospect hasn't been dominant in his first two starts. He has only three strikeouts in 12 innings, but he hasn't walked a batter and has gotten enough run support to earn wins. Cole threw 5 2/3 innings on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits in the Bucs' 6-3 victory over the Dodgers.
Weaver, a 20-game winner last season, spent 50 days on the disabled list with a fractured left elbow earlier this season and hasn't been himself. In his each of his last two starts, Weaver has given up at least four earned runs and six hits, losing both.
The Angels will try to back up Weaver with the offensive flash they showed in a dramatic, come-from-behind 10-9 victory over the Mariners on Thursday night. The Halos, who were down by seven runs in the third inning, pounced on a rare slipup from Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, tattooing him for five runs in the fifth to chase him from the game.
One way for the Angels to continue that offensive production is smart baserunning. Pegged as World Series contenders before the season, they are trying to improve on their 33-40 mark and jump back into the playoff picture.
"Teams are going to pay attention to Mike [Trout], we just have to pick our spots," Scioscia said. "Sometimes it's going to be when Albert's [Pujols] is up sometimes it's going to be when Mark [Trumbo] is up. We're going to be as aggressive as we can be, that's for sure."
Pirates: Presley optioned, Welker recalled
The Bucs optioned outfielder Alex Presley to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled right-hander Duke Welker, who joined the team for its day game on Thursday in Cincinnati.
Presley spent the last three weeks with Pittsburgh, starting seven games. He had 11 hits in 38 at-bats (.289) with two solo home runs in his most recent big league stint. Presley was the Pirates' leadoff man in 2012 before the emergence of Starling Marte, and he's bounced between Triple-A and the Majors since.
Welker was called up by the Pirates on May 8, but was optioned back on May 11 without appearing in a game. He's 3-1 with three saves and a 2.78 ERA in 25 appearances for Indianapolis this season.
Angels: Hamilton still searching for answers
Scioscia had struggling outfielder Josh Hamilton to the No. 7 spot in the order for the second straight game Thursday, and while Hamilton did not produce a hit, he did drive in a run.
Hamilton finished 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly, his average slipping to .207.
"Right now there's a tough balance that everybody's trying to find with Josh and he is not taking this in stride," Scioscia said. "Josh, he wants it. He wants to contribute. He takes it harder than anyone and when he comes out of this, you're going to see the talent that's still in him."
Hamilton hit fourth for most of April, then fifth for most of May before bouncing around the lineup this month.
• The Angels and Pirates have played only nine times. They last met in 2007, when the Halos swept a three-game set at home, and the Angels leads the all-time series 6-3.
• Jason Grilli's 25 saves before the All-Star break are one shy of Joel Hanrahan's club record, set in 2011. Hanrahan's run of 26 saves without blowing one to start the season is also a team record. Grilli blew his first save on Wednesday.
• Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is 4-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs in Cole's two starts, and he is coming off a five-RBI performance on Thursday.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.