After dropping two rough loses to the Angels in a row, the Astros struck back in a big way Wednesday night, staking Gerrit Cole to an 11-run lead and closing things out 11-2.
Houston wasted little time jumping out to an early lead in Los Angeles, with Jose Altuve singling, Alex Bregman doubling him home, and Michael Brantley launching his 100th career homer into the right field stands.
Uncle Mike's 100th career #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/25PNsFWkDo— Houston Astros (@astros) July 18, 2019
That alone would have been enough given the night that Gerrit Cole had (more on that in a moment), but the offense decided to continue applying pressure after that. Jake Marisnick, who had a big night of his own, started things off in the second with a single and a steal, and was doubled in (along with George Springer, who walked) on another hit by Jose Altuve, this one a double. Another run came in on the third after Yuli Gurriel doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
But the fifth was where Houston finally chased starter Félix Peña and put the game out of reach. Tyler White singled in a run, Marisnick doubled in another, and Springer brought them both in with his third homer of the series (and 21st on the year).
Business is boomin'#TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/F0a81CUPuh— Houston Astros (@astros) July 18, 2019
And although it was great to see the offense wake up, Cole didn’t really need those eleven runs, as he cruised through the night. Through seven innings, Cole struck out 11 to increase his league lead to 183 (his eleventh double-digit strikeout game of the year), and allowed only one run on seven hits and a walk. That lone blemish was a fifth-inning solo shot by Dustin Garneau, who also drove in a run in the ninth on a double off of Ryan Pressley (who walked one batter but also struck out three). In between them, Jose Smith threw a scoreless inning in his third appearance on the year.
All around, it was everything you’d want to see out of the Astros after the rough last few games: an all-around strong pitching performance, George Springer (1-3, HR, 2 BB, 3 RBI) and Jose Altuve (2-4, 2B, SB, 2 RBI) still looking healthy, and Jake Marisnick looking unfazed after last last night’s incident (3-4, 2 2B, SB, RBI). Even the defense looked good, with a series of good places filling the third inning and Josh Reddick throwing out a runner at the plate to end the fifth.
Today's defensive clinic is scheduled for the 3rd inning.#TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/nlfc28dCxB— Houston Astros (@astros) July 18, 2019
Josh Reddick just tossed a 255ft strike home from LF to get Andrelton Simmons at home. Tracked at 87.8 MPH— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 18, 2019
This win improves the Astros’ record to 60-37 on the year, although Oakland also won, meaning that Houston’s AL West lead remains at 4.5 games. Tomorrow will seem them trying to force a series split with the Angels, with Wade Miley facing off against Matt Harvey at 8:07 CST.