A premier pitching match-up. The AL’s number two strikeout leader, Chris Sale against the AL’s number one, Gerrit Cole. But then again, every time the other team puts out their ace, it’s a premier pitching match-up against the Astros. So you better score runs any way you can, right?
Like in the first inning when George Springer scored from second on a strikeout. What? Followed by a Yuli Gurriel RBI infield single, the first hit allowed with 2 outs and RISP all year by Sale. Why not?
Or when Brock Holt hit an RBI double off the glove of George Springer in the second. With a 38% hit probability just a little bit of luck there.
But in the end this was a game settled by bombs.
Springer got his revenge in the third with a 436 foot blast to left center, his 12th. Later that inning Yuli Gurriel got his second RBI single.
But then the Red Sox shot some missiles of their own. In the top of the fourth Mitch Moreland crushed a solo shot 434 feet, as Jake Marisnick watched it hit the batting eye in center field. The next batter, the current AL leader in home runs, J. D. Martinez, went back to back, placing a low line drive just over the right field fence.
That would end the scoring for the Red Sox, as the game settled into the pitcher’s duel we expected.
Until the home eighth. Carlos Correa would get his second home run in two nights, another howitzer to the Crawford Boxes, his tenth of the year. And with Gurriel on base, Evan Gattis would keep his bat scorching with a real grizzly shot to left center, his eighth.
As for the pitching match-up, Cole got the better of it, going 7 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, 5 hits and 1 walk. He struck out seven, getting 13 swings and misses on 105 pitches. As already noted he allowed two home runs, which has been the Achilles heal in his game even before becoming an Astro. He got the win and is now 6-1 for the year.
In the seventh inning Cole threw a perfect strike at 100 MPH, an Astros record for him. His next pitch was a ball at 101. Whew.
Cole maintained his strikeout lead over Sale, who struck out six. And although he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in six innings, he pitched into a little bit of bad luck tonight. The losing pitcher, Sale is now 5-3 for the year.
Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings respectively, Peacock looking overpowering, striking out the side to end the game.
Tomorrow is another “pitcher’s” duel featuring the Red Sox’s David Price (5-4, 4.04 ERA) against the phenomenal Justin Verlander (7-2, 1.11 ERA)
Game starts at 6:15 CDT.
Box score and videos here.