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Cole follows Taillon with brilliant start
Pirates prospect excited to pitch alongside fellow No. 1 pick
04/30/2012 10:44 PM ET
Gerrit Cole has struck out 29 batters over 23 innings in five starts.
Gerrit Cole has struck out 29 batters over 23 innings in five starts. (Bradenton Marauders)
When the Pirates selected Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole in the first round of consecutive drafts, the executives assembled in the team's war room must have envisioned a rotation anchored by the two young hurlers.

Just as the Nationals got a glimpse of their future this weekend in Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, the Bucs are seeing their future stars grow together.

A little over 24 hours after watching Taillon hurl six scoreless innings, Cole delivered an even more impressive performance Monday.

Cole (1-1) allowed one hit and one walk while tying a career high with six strikeouts over six innings as the Class A Advanced Bradenton Marauders blanked the Jupiter Hammerheads, 8-0.

"It's pretty cool," MLB.com's No. 11 prospect said. "It's awesome to be in the rotation with him and, hopefully, we'll be together for a few years.

"We talk about what we're going to do and things we see that can help each other out, but that goes for the whole staff. We're very cohesive."

The 21-year-old right-hander faced the minimum through four innings, erasing Marcell Ozuna's first-inning single with a double play. A two-out walk to Brian McConkey in the fifth gave the Hammerheads their second baserunner of the evening, but Cole retired Ryan Fisher to escape unscathed.

The UCLA product set the side down in order in the sixth, striking out the final two batters -- both swinging -- before turning things over to the bullpen.

"I felt good. I had a couple pitches working for me and we played great defense," said Cole, who threw 86 pitches. "By the numbers this was my best start, obviously, but I've done well the last three games and not got the results I wanted."

Cole (1-1) notched his first professional win and lowered his ERA to 3.52. In five Florida State League outings, he's recorded 29 strikeouts against seven walks over 23 innings.

After relying on his fastball for the first three weeks of the season, the California native felt comfortable enough to change things up and mix in his off-speed offerings.

"I threw my fastball, slider, changeup and a couple curveballs tonight," Cole said. "That is something I wasn't doing before because I've been trying to nail my fastball command and fine-tune my delivery.

"Tonight, I threw all of my different weapons. I'm trying to take care of the process and not worry about the results. I went six innings tonight; hopefully, I can go seven next time."

Jason Townsend struck out three and worked around one hit in two innings before Zach Foster tossed a perfect ninth to complete the shutout.

Pirates' No. 14 prospect Alex Dickerson went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored, Drew Maggi was 3-for-3 with a walk and five runs scored and Mel Rojas plated three runs in the Marauders' third win in four games.

Jupiter starter Chad James (1-1) -- the Marlins' No. 4 prospect -- yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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