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Bucs set NLDS rotation, will go with Cole in Game 2

Liriano to start back home in third game; Morton, Burnett to follow, if necessary

ST. LOUIS -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle set his pitching rotation for the rest of the National League Division Series, opting for rookie Gerrit Cole to go in Game 2 here over another well-rested right-hander, veteran Charlie Morton.

Hurdle favored Cole for Friday afternoon's start (1 p.m. ET, MLB Network) for two reasons.

"The way he has pitched on the road, and that the Cardinals haven't yet had a look at him," Hurdle said. "Not wanting him to sit too long also played into it."

Cole was 4-2 with an ERA of 2.38 in seven road starts. He last appeared in a game on Sept. 24, giving him 10 days' rest between starts.

Francisco Liriano, the winner in dominant fashion of Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game, will return to PNC Park to pitch Game 3 on Sunday. He will be followed, if the best-of-five series is still unresolved, by Morton, and if still needed, by A.J. Burnett's return appearance in Game 5.

Depending on how the series goes, Morton thus could have an opportunity to start a third seminal game for the Pirates in two weeks. He started the Sept. 23 win in Chicago that clinched a postseason spot for the Bucs, and the Sept. 28 win in Cincinnati that clinched home-field advantage for the NL Wild Card Game.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
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