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Cole successful in Senators' debut
Nationals' No. 3 prospect allows a run over seven innings
07/26/2013 2:28 AM ET
A.J. Cole faced just four over the minimum in his first Double-A outing.
A.J. Cole faced just four over the minimum in his first Double-A outing. (Potomac Nationals)

A.J. Cole doesn't go looking for a win. One found him anyway on Thursday.

The Nationals' No. 3 prospect allowed a run on three hits and fanned six over seven innings to earn the victory in his Double-A debut as Harrisburg bested Portland, 2-1.

Cole walked one and threw 66 of his 98 pitches for strikes. The Florida native took a shutout into the seventh inning before yielding a two-out solo homer to Travis Shaw.

"My fastball and my changeup were working real well for me," Cole said. "My curveball wasn't really there tonight, but I still threw it to show them that I had it. I was locating the fastball well and the changeup I could throw at any time. That was big for me."

After going 6-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 starts for Class A Advanced Potomac, the 21-year-old right-hander moved up to the Eastern League.

"I was [excited], it's always a good thing and a nice thing to be called up," he said. "To go out there and perform, it's a big thing for me and for your team. It was nice to get that [first win] too. I don't go out there saying, 'Hey I want to win.' I go out there and pitch the way I can. Things happen the way they turn out to happen."

MLB.com's No. 75 prospect outpitched Matt Barnes, baseball's overall No. 33 prospect. Barnes (5-7) gave up a run on three hits and fanned eight over five innings to suffer the loss for the Sea Dogs.

"I always like pitching in more of a pitchers' duel than in a hitters-type [game]," Cole said. "Going against another pitcher that's high up there ... throwing well and ... showing what I can do and helping my team out is always a good thing."

Cole has had an interesting month of July. In addition to making the jump to Double-A, the 2010 fourth-round pick earned the save in the Futures Game at Citi Field on July 14.

"I've been all over the place," he said. "A lot of experience and a lot of fun. I just want to keep that going. I love the game and I love playing. Better competition is a lot more fun and I'm trying to continue to grow as a pitcher and a player and keep on going."

Tyler Herron gave up two hits over the final two innings to earn his first save for Harrisburg.

Destin Hood tripled home a run and Jason Martinson, Washington's No. 17 prospect, scored a run for the Senators.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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