Cole was getting both Wednesday, in Busch Stadium and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
"He is very competitive -- that has played well on the road for him this year," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said a couple hours before first pitch. "But this guy has had a bit of an edge ever since, I think, he started playing.
"And that's kind of what we've seen play out so far this season with him, more so on the road. At home, he's been competitive. On the road, he's been very, very good."
The rookie was 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA on the road during the regular season -- then pitched up to those numbers in his Game 2 victory here, holding the Cards to two hits through six innings.
"I think you also ... saw the matchups of all the starting pitchers he went against," Hurdle recalled, "a pretty impressive group that he kind of cut his teeth on this season."
Cole made the first three starts of his big league career opposite Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke and Jered Weaver. He beat them all. A late duel with Rangers sensation Yu Darvish brought out Cole's best -- a 1-0 victory in Arlington.
"He wants something," Hurdle said, "and when he shows up, he says, 'You know, basically I'm not leaving until I get what I came for.'"
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.