Exhale, Pirate fans. It looks like Gerrit Cole is all right.
After allowing five earned runs over 4 1/3 innings in his previous outing, Cole shut down Rochester for six frames in his third rehab start Sunday afternoon. He allowed just one hit and struck out three as Triple-A Indianapolis rolled to a 10-0 victory.
Cole (2-1) retired his first 14 batters and faced one over the minimum in his third rehab start. He threw 49 of 73 pitches for strikes and hit 95 mph with his final offering.
Eight of the 23-year-old right-hander's 10 outs came via ground balls.
The Pirates will evaluate Cole on Monday to determine if he'll make another rehab appearance.
"I'm pleased," he said. "It went well but still got some work ahead of us. Next step is tomorrow and keep going.
"Command was pretty good, for the most part. Mixed all four [pitches] and pitched to contact pretty well."
The first overall pick in the 2011 Draft has made three starts with Indianapolis during this rehab assignment, compiling a 2.93 ERA over 15 1/3 innings. He's struck out 13, walked four and allowed one homer.
His first time out, Cole tossed five innings in a 5-0 win over Rochester. Pitching coach Tim Filer said after that outing he was impressed with the life on the UCLA product's fastball.
Cole's next start was scheduled for Aug. 2 but was pushed back to Aug. 5. Against Toledo, he surrendered 10 hits, including a homer, and five earned runs over 4 1/3 innings, walking one, striking out three and throwing 74 pitches.
Cole said he had no concerns from his last outing and had no restrictions beyond his pitch count on Sunday.
"He wasn't tied down to anything like [velocity] today," Indians manager Dean Treanor said. "What was good [was] when he felt he needed some velocity, he was able to ramp it up a little bit and he had the OK to do that today. I'm sure there was more in the tank. That was a good sign."
Cole got three outs on 11 pitches in the first inning, striking out Chris Herrmann after falling behind, 2-0. After retiring the side in order in the second, third and fourth, he got groundouts from Josmil Pinto and Chris Colabello before Daniel Ortiz lined a single to center field. Cole struck out Deibinson Romero to strand Ortiz at second.
Cole finished up with a 1-2-3 sixth on groundouts from Aaron Hicks, Eric Farris and Doug Bernier.
"I really liked his angles today, and that's what I really look for, which means he's working over the ball," Treanor said. "You saw more balls down in the zone today with a better angle as opposed to maybe getting underneath the ball a little bit or getting a little ahead of himself and pushing the ball. We did not see that at all today."
The Indians staked Cole to a big early lead as Brent Morel plated a run with a groundout in the first, then capped a four-run second with an RBI single. Mel Rojas Jr. went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and fell a triple shy of the cycle for Indianapolis.