Gerrit Cole looked upset when he walked off the mound after the sixth inning with his Pittsburgh Pirates trailing the San Diego Padres 2-0.
Although Cole was hard on himself, manager Clint Hurdle liked that his pitcher showed emotion.
“I just think he’s an emotional guy. I don’t read anything into that,” Hurdle said after the Pirates lost 2-1 to Ian Kennedy and the Padres on Wednesday. “I think that’s one thing that fuels him. It fueled him through his career, through college, now. I don’t want to take that away from him.
“He’s got the power of emotion. We’ll let it play. I think it will find its settling point sometime. But right now, he likes to compete.”
Kennedy pitched seven strong innings, combining with two relievers on a four-hitter, and Yonder Alonso drove in two runs as the Padres avoided a three-game sweep by the NL Central-leading Pirates.
Kennedy, who played at Southern Cal, outpitched Cole, who pitched at UCLA before the Pirates made him the first pick overall in the June 2011 draft.
Cole (6-6) allowed two runs and 10 hits in six innings, struck out five and walked none.
“I just felt like I let a pretty good opportunity slip away because we had an opportunity to come in here and sweep and set the tone for the San Francisco series,” Cole said. “I was just disappointed that I wasn’t better able to help the team.”
“I put myself in a position to go deep if we didn’t have an opportunity to score in the sixth. I’m just disappointed that I let that opportunity slip away for the team.”
Cole has allowed three earned runs or less in 12 of 13 career starts.
Kennedy (5-9) won for the second time in four starts since being obtained from the NL West-rival Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31. He held Pittsburgh to four hits, struck out eight and walked three.
Luke Gregerson pitched the eighth, walking Felix Pie and allowing Andrew McCutcheon’s sacrifice fly, and Huston Street worked the ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances.
The Pirates’ lead in the NL Central was reduced to one game over the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat Milwaukee 8-6.
Kennedy got into and out of trouble in the first, when the Pirates had two singles and two walks in the first inning, and didn’t score. Pie, who was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier Wednesday, beat out an infield single before being thrown out trying to steal second. With two outs, McCutcheon singled and Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin walked to load the bases. Kennedy got out of the jam by striking out Garrett Jones.