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Gerrit Cole shines in postseason debut as Pirates win Game 2

Oct 4, 2013, 4:33 PM EDT

Gerrit Cole Getty Images

Partly because they were worried about his innings count, the Pirates seriously considered putting Gerrit Cole into the bullpen for the postseason. It’s a very good thing they didn’t.

Cole pitched six innings of one-run ball and singled in the first run of the game as the Pirates beat the Cardinals 7-1 to even up the NLDS at one game apiece on Friday.

It was pretty much a stress free outing for the 2011 first overall pick in his first postseason appearance. The only run came on a Yadier Molina solo homer when the Pirates were already up 5-0. He threw just 86 pitches before the Pirates decide to turn things over to the pen.

Cole’s hit came in the second with Pedro Alvarez on second base. Shortstop Jordy Mercer was intentionally walked to bring up the pitcher’s spot, but Cole, who was 7-for-34 with five RBI in the regular season, responded with a single up the middle.

The stellar performance will force a tough decision on manager Clint Hurdle if the NLDS goes five games. With two off days coming up, Cole can come back in Game 5 on normal rest. Of course, that was supposed to be A.J. Burnett‘s assignment, but Burnett was torched for seven runs in two-plus innings in the Game 1 loss. Cole seems like the better bet of the two with the way he threw today.

Of course, the series still has to go five games first. The Cardinals will throw Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha in Pittsburgh on Sunday and Monday. The Pirates will use wild-card winner Francisco Liriano in Game 3 and sinkerballer Charlie Morton the next day.

  1. steelers88 - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    What did I tell you guys. The Pirates bounced back and they bounced back in a BIG way! This series is FAR from over.

    • apkyletexas - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      I didn’t see anyone in awe of the Cards today. The Bucs already won 10 games from St. Louis this year – they know how to play them.

      I think it was reasonable to expect a split in St. Louis. For every advantage the Cards have, the Bucs have a counter. For all their hitting, the Bucs certainly have one of the best bullpens in the playoffs. For all their great starting pitching, the Bucs have a tremendous group of left-handed hitters. The Cards have Beltran, but the Bucs have Pedro. The Cards have Holliday, but the Bucs have McCutchen. The Cards have a great catcher in Molina, but the Pirates have their own great catcher in Russell Martin.

  2. happytwinsfan - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    the evil empire of competence falls before the children of destiny!!

  3. Tyler - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Cole looked great. Hopefully the Pirates lock him up long term.

    I’m excited to see the crowd in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon. Liriano is great in PNC Park and the crowd will be jacked!

  4. Stiller43 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Pirates in 4 possibly?!!!

    Should have two chances to clinch (one at one) assuming liriano is still lights out at home

  5. Stiller43 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    And btw, game 5 wouldnt be a tough decision at all. Its cole all the way. Burnetts been trash lately and cole was their best pitcher in september.

  6. ditchparrot19 - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Maybe Burnett will take a page from Chris Perez’s book and fire himself from the rotation. It’s the best thing he could do for his team.

  7. steelers88 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I think Cole should start the game 5. I don’t think he will however, Hurdle doesn’t have the guts to sit AJ down. So if this series goes 5 I say Burnett starts.

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