It took Spain's World Baseball Classic team until the third inning to put a ball in play Tuesday against Gerrit Cole. By then, Cole had struck out six consecutive batters.

Cole made his third appearance of the spring, but he has pitched just once in an official Grapefruit League game. He started the intrasquad scrimmage in February in addition to the exhibition game Tuesday. Spain sported a thinner lineup than the one the Tampa Bay Rays used Feb. 27, his previous outing, but Cole, the Pirates' 22-year-old top prospect, looked the part regardless.

"He took care of what he could take care of today," manager Clint Hurdle said. "That was going out, pounding the zone, throwing strikes and being effective. It was a good development day for him, a good competition day for him."

Cole's fastball sat at 94 to 97 mph, according to one talent evaluator, and his slider hit 89-90.

"I just kind of treated it like every other start," Cole said. "I just tried to nail the delivery in the bullpen and just take it out in the game and be aggressive."

Cole struck out the side on 15 pitches in the first and 13 in the second. He used his fastball, slider and curve, including a couple of perfect breaking pitches, but said he is still developing the feel for his off-speed pitches this spring.

"I tried to throw a few early in the count today to get some in the zone and then a few to expand," he said. "It's early."