ARLINGTON, Texas – Gerrit Cole had been frustrated for most of the game, as did the rest of the Astros, and the Houston ace immediately went to the home referee after recording his final.
Cole put the glove over his mouth and was clearly agitated during an extended conversation with referee Ron Kulpa at the end of the sixth inning of the Astros' 4-0 defeat Wednesday night against Texas Rangers.
That was long after Astros coach AJ Hinch and coach Alex Cintron being sent off by Kulpa in the second round for discussing balls and punches.
"It was a challenging night for us, just looking at the shower," said Cole (0-2), who made nine and allowed three runs. "Maybe he disagrees with one or two calls, but that was not the main point of the question. What he does is out of my control and I need to do a better job dealing with my body language … I'm just leaving him It was not with the attack zone. "
Crew chief Jerry Meals, who was working at third base, said Cole was upset about leaving the game because Kulpa limited him to his warm-up in the fourth inning after the pitcher was late from the bench. Meals said that Kulpa was imposing the MLB game pace policy when he stepped in front of the plate.
"We were instructed to tell him one more step, he ignored it. He played another, great. He ignored him again, he wanted to keep playing," Meals said. "He has a responsibility to get out of the shelter before it warms up. He waited until the catcher was ready, which is not what you do."
As for the ejections, Meals said that the Astros' bench "basically erupted" after an attack called in the first pitch of Tyler White in the second.
Hinch then left after Kulpa looked at the reservation bench. No one was initially expelled, but shortly after the technician returned to the bench and before the next release, Cintron was still singing and was played.
When Hinch was asked if he was upset that Kulpa kept looking at the reservations bank, the manager replied, "Yes, I think things could have been handled differently." Everyone has social media. everyone knows what happened. "
A step later, after another strike, Hinch was sent off and then left the bench for a heated argument with Kulpa. Hinch was dismissed by bank trainer Joe Espada, who took over as acting manager.
"So we know you argue that balls and strikes are one thing. When you get kicked out more aggressively, it's disappointing," Hinch said.
In replay, Kulpa seemed to be saying "I can do whatever I want" as he headed to Hinch.
"That's what he said, and apparently that's what he meant," Hinch said. "He's in charge, and obviously you make a scene, I think everyone has to pay attention, but let's let the league sort it out."
Meals said that Kulpa had warned the Astros bench to "knock him down" and told Hinch that when he left for the first time.
"It was all because of the dugout complaining about pitches," Meals said of the ejections.
Mike Minor (1-1) made seven deciding innings for the Rangers, who are 4-2 after winning each of their first two series by new coach Chris Woodward. It is the first time since 2013 that Texas has won its first two series of one season.
Minor, who missed the fifth inning in his first career start last Thursday, gave up five hits, knocked out seven and made two.
"I think I was sincerely happy to get it out of the way," Minor said of his first match. "And now all the games count and everyone just bows to each other. It's not going to be like this all season, so everybody's going to compete."
After pitching Hunter Pence's comebacker and firing first in an inning-ending in his 105th pitch in the sixth, Cole headed straight for Kulpa. As the Astros hit the seventh, Cole was still irritated as he paced the reserve bench.
Cole also addressed Kulpa after the third inning, during a stretch in which the pitcher had just retired seven runners in a row since Gallo's walk in the first.
The loss ended with a 2-5 season opener for two-time AL West winners of the World Series in 2017.
Nomar Mazara put Texas ahead to get a two-out RBI single in the first. Pence had a RBI single in the room and scored twice as much as Ronald Guzman. Mazara added a solo homer, the second of the season, in the eighth.
Shawn Kelley and Jose Leclerc pitched an inning to end the season's first shutout for the Rangers.
Rangers: Mazara fell awkwardly on the ground after colliding with 1B Yuli Gurriel on his first hit. Mazara stood for several minutes while a Rangers coach looked at him before getting up and running a little.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (0-1) starts the home game Friday night against Oakland.
Rangers: RHP Edinson Volquez makes his second match Thursday night as the Rangers travel to Los Angeles to play their opponents in the opening game of the Angels.