ST. LOUIS (AP) - Pittsburgh Pirates starter Gerrit Cole has pitched extremely well in his last two starts. All he has to show for it is a loss.
Cole pitched seven innings giving up just one run in the Pirates 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out four. But that run was all the Cardinals needed.
''Does it sting a little more when you do everything you think you can?'' Cole said. ''You leave it out on the field and you control what you can control. Yeah, it hurts but that's why they play 162 of these.''
Cole was able to keep the Cardinals in check despite having to get by on just his fastball for much of the game.
''It's tough when you only got one pitch working for you in the middle (of the game),'' Cole said. ''We kind of just let it all hang out and that's what we did. It's all out there on the field. I got nothing left right now.''
His effort earned his manager's appreciation.
''It was a fist fight,'' said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. ''He pitched his back side off. Great job, fun to watch.''
Shelby Miller pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings, which was in complete contrast to his history vs. Pittsburgh. Miller (2-2) entered the game with a 0-5 record and a 5.93 ERA against the Pirates. He allowed just three hits and four walks while striking out four.
''We didn't get the big hit,'' Hurdle said. ''We got some guys on base. He (Miller) wasn't making mistakes. He pitched through it.''
Pat Neshek, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Kevin Rosenthal followed Miller and preserved the shutout. Rosenthal struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wished his relievers had some margin for error.
''You kind of hate to keep doing that to these guys, having to be perfect,'' Matheny said. ''The bullpen did a terrific job.''
Matt Holliday had three hits, a walk and drove in the only run with a first-inning double. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, matching his career high set in 2007.
The Pirates lost for the seventh time in nine tries. Pittsburgh has won just three of its last 12 games.
''We knew there would be challenges coming into the season,'' Hurdle said. ''We're getting to face our fair share of them in April. You just keep mounting up and you keep playing.''
St. Louis got the only run it would need in the first. Matt Carpenter led off with a bunt single down the third baseline and he went to second on Jon Jay's fielder's choice to first. Holliday then doubled to right, scoring Carpenter.
''The guy has been playing for 15 years, he knows what he's doing,'' Cole said of Holliday.
Pittsburgh had Miller on the ropes in the third, as singles by Cole and Jose Tabata and a walk to Neil Walker loaded the bases. But Miller got Andrew McCutchen to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the eighth, Pittsburgh had runners on first and third with no one out against Martinez after pinch hitter Starling Marte was hit by a pitch and Tabata singled him to third. Martinez got Marte hung up on a fielder's choice back to him for the first out. After an intentional walk to McCutchen, Martinez struck out Pedro Alvarez and Chris Stewart to end the threat.
''We weren't able to get to them tonight,'' Hurdle said. ''We had an excellent opportunity in the eighth inning.''
NOTES: Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano (0-3) will try to get in the victory column when he opposes Tyler Lyons (0-1) in the second game of the series Saturday. ... Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta snapped an 0-for-22 streak with a fourth inning double. ... Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin left the game after grounding out in the fifth with tightness in his left hamstring. ... This series is the last three games of a 26-game stretch against Central Division opponents to open the season for the Pirates.