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Bucs' Cole earns NL Rookie of Month honors

Right-hander first Pirate to receive award since Pedro Alvarez in 2010

Gerrit Cole's strong finish helped the Pirates lock up their first playoff berth since 1992, and on Monday it earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors.

It was the first monthly award for Cole, who is the first Pirates rookie to claim one since Pedro Alvarez in September 2010.

Cole went 4-0 in five September starts to tie for the league lead in wins, while helping Pittsburgh secure a spot in Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game against the Reds. The right-hander also led qualifying rookie pitchers with a 1.69 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 32 innings, while issuing only 10 walks and finishing second with a .212 opponents' batting average.

The 23-year-old, who was the first overall pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, pitched at least six innings and gave up no more than two runs in each of his outings over the final month. He notched 34 strikeouts over 26 innings in his final four starts, the most by a Pirates rookie in a four-start stretch since Jose DeLeon in August 1983.

Cole's run included a 12-strikeout performance in only six innings against the Padres on Sept. 19.

Cole finished his rookie season with a 10-7 record, a 3.22 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 117 1/3 innings.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.
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