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Cole set to make Major League debut for Pirates

Welcome to the show, Gerrit Cole.

Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 Draft and MLB.com's No. 8 prospect, makes his Major League debut Tuesday night at PNC Park against the reigning World Series champion Giants and two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

"Fear nothing, respect everything," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of his advice for Cole. "This is an opportunity that has presented itself, move upon it. Do everything you think it's going to take for you to help us win a game tonight.

"I think he's in a good place emotionally, physically, professionally."

And pitching-wise. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound right-hander has not allowed a run in his past two Triple-A outings, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts.

Those numbers, the hype, and the first-hand look Andrew McCutchen got of Cole in Spring Training leads the Pirates center fielder to believe the 22-year-old righty can make an impact.

"We know that, here on out, anybody who comes up, it'll be to help us for the better," McCutchen said. "We're trying to win, and we figure everyone here is to help us do that. We know what Gerrit Cole is capable of doing, we saw it throughout Spring Training."

Catcher Russell Martin came away impressed by the first-hand look he received in the spring.

"I caught him a couple of times in Spring Training, and I like his makeup and his attitude," Martin said. "In my opinion, he's going to be a good pitcher for a long time, so this will be start No. 1 of a hopefully long and prosperous career."

Cole will be free of distractions prior to the first time he toes a big league rubber. Because of Monday's off-day and starting pitchers' pregame routines, Cole will not meet with reporters until after his debut outing.

Hurdle, however, planned to meet with his young hurler to get an idea of where Cole's head is at.

"I'll be interested to get his feedback on how he feels the progression of his season has gone," the manager said. "I'll ask him about what areas he feels he nailed down, and the things in front of him he thinks he still has to master."

Cole also will have the backing of a Pirates team that has thrived at PNC Park, winning 11 of its last 14 home games. The Giants, meanwhile, have not only struggled on the road (12-18) but pretty much everywhere as of late, dropping seven of their last 12.

Like the 2012 World Series champions, the heavily-decorated Lincecum also has continued to struggle -- though he turned in a vintage outing his last time out, tossing seven innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays.

Lincecum has struggled in three career starts at PNC Park (5.19 ERA), though current Pirates batters are hitting only .135 against him.

Giants: You can't catch me
Right fielder Hunter Pence is 12-for-12 in stolen base attempts, the most steals by any Major Leaguer without being caught this season.

• The Giants have nine multi-homer games, the second-lowest in the Majors. Miami has four.

• Pablo Sandoval aggravated his strained left foot Saturday and was scheduled to undergo a second MRI on Sunday. He has missed four of the Giants' last eight games and is day-to-day.

Pirates: Morris' no-hit streak
Right-handed reliever Bryan Morris has not allowed a hit in his last five outings, spanning nine innings. He also has tossed 10 straight scoreless innings while holding opponents to a .127 average and an .051 mark with runners on base.

• Closer Jason Grilli has converted 23 straight save opportunities to open the season, three shy of Joel Hanrahan's club record of 26 to begin 2011.

Worth noting
• On June 8, 2010, the Pirates were defeated by Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg in his big league debut. Close to the third anniversary of that occasion, the Pirates will be debuting their own big arm in Cole.

• Sixteen of Pittsburgh's last 22 games have been decided by two runs or fewer. The Pirates are 26-13 in such games this season.

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