Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole didn't expect to make his next start until after the All-Star break, but he will take the hill in Sunday's series finale against the Mets at PNC Park instead, looking to help the Bucs complete a three-game sweep.
Cole, who will pitch on normal rest, was given the assignment after scheduled pitcher Jeff Locke experienced lower back stiffness following his most recent start.
In his previous outing against the A's, Cole allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings of work with four strikeouts. While it was his best start of the season, surrendering just a two-run home run to Brandon Moss, Cole still took a 2-1 loss. It marked the Pirates top prospect's second straight loss after winning his first four starts.
Cole showed the ability to get strikeouts when needed in the game, yet still retired 10 hitters on three pitches or fewer.
"We're not going to try to put him in one lane or the other," manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. "Because I think he's going to have the ability to do both as he continues to grow."
Meanwhile, Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60 ERA) gets the nod for the Mets, looking for his first win in July.
He took a no-decision on Tuesday against the Giants, allowing five runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out three and walked five.
Coming into the game with a 4-1 record and a 2.47 ERA over his previous seven starts, Gee struggled with his command. San Francisco put at least one runner on base in every inning against him.
Gee has dominated the Pirates in four career starts, going 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA.
Mets: Seaver named Grand Marshal
Hall of Famer and former Mets right-hander Tom Seaver will serve as Grand Marshal of the ninth annual Major League Baseball All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet on Tuesday.
The marching band from the Scholar's Academy in Rockaway Park, Queens, will lead the procession with Seaver. Mets third baseman David Wright and several Mets legends, including Darryl Strawberry, Al Leiter, Mike Piazza and Dwight Gooden, will also be part of the event.
The All-Star Red Carpet Show, which begins at 1 p.m. ET and is free for fans, will feature the 2013 All-Stars and managers. The event will start at Bryant Park on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue and proceed on an approximately 80,000 square-foot red carpet past Grand Central Terminal before ending at 42nd Street and Third Avenue.
Pirates: Locke scratched from start and All-Star Game
Locke was scratched from his start on Sunday as well as the National League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game because of lower back stiffness.
NL manager Bruce Bochy will name a replacement on his All-Star staff for Locke, who will still attend festivities in New York and at Citi Field on a non-participatory basis.
He is scheduled to pitch on Sunday, July 21, in Cincinnati thanks to the four-day All-Star break.
"Really, we could not have had a better time to take care of that type of physical issue," said Hurdle.
• The Pirates have 21 relief wins on the season. Justin Wilson has six wins and Vin Mazzaro has five.
• The Mets have played 42 extra innings this year. Only Arizona (43 innings) has played more.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.