Gerrit Cole spun a masterful performance for the ages to lead the Astros to a 2-0 ALDS lead.
One night after the Rays “got Verlander’d,” Gerrit Cole stepped up and dominated even more. The Astros co-ace set a new franchise record for a postseason game with 15 strikeouts in 7.2 scoreless innings as they defeated Tampa Bay 3-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the ALDS.
Cole was as good as any pitcher can be, not allowing a runner to reach second base until the eighth inning. He kept hitters off balance with his fastball and his breaking pitches, unleashing his full arsenal on the helpless Rays lineup.
His 116th pitch of the night reached 100 mph on the radar gun, but he couldn’t quite get that final out in the eighth inning. Closer Roberto Osuna came into the game with a pair of runners on base and got a three-pitch strikeout to end the frame.
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Unfortunately, the same Osuna didn’t make it back out for the ninth. The other side of his Jekyll and Hyde persona allowed a pair of singles and a pair of walks while recording only one out before AJ Hinch pulled him with the bases loaded.
In as tough a situation as there is, Will Harris came in from the bullpen and saved the day, preserving Cole’s win. He got a strikeout and a groundout to strand the tying and go-ahead runs on base and is probably well on his way to sainthood.
Offense Does Just Enough
The Astros offense again struggled with runners in scoring position. They had opportunities in the second, third and fifth innings, but could not cash in. Alex Bregman hit a solo homer into the Crawford Boxes to give the team a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
They were finally able to add some insurance in the seventh as a one-out single from Martin Maldonado scored Yuli Gurriel to make it 2-0. A Carlos Correa single in the bottom of the eighth made it 3-0, giving the team just enough breathing room.
Maldonado, Correa, Bregman and Yordan Alvarez managed two hits apiece. George Springer, however, was 0-for-4, looking particularly bad at the plate in this one. He’s still looking for his first hit of this ALDS.