PITTSBURGH -- The pitching line in Gerrit Cole's third rehab start looked much better than the previous one.
Cole -- who has missed more than a month with right lat tightness -- surrendered just one hit and struck out three in six scoreless innings for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, finished without a walk and threw 73 pitches, 49 of which were strikes.
In his previous outing, which came Tuesday, Cole was charged with five earned runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. The team deemed it a "gear down" start, and it had been pushed back three days. Cole had a checklist of items he worked on, with his pitching line not being the focus of the outing.
The focus was different for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft on Sunday.
"The process for Gerrit today is a little bit more competitive today as far as attacking hitters, versus being refined, being in control, working on pitch sequences," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday before Cole's sharp outing.
The Bucs didn't have any immediate word on what would be next for Cole, but they've had great patience with the right-hander during his second DL stint of the season. Cole is 7-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 14 games this season, but has pitched just twice for the Pirates since June 3, missing almost a month with fatigue in his throwing shoulder.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.