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Cole Train wrecks halos bats. Leads Astros to 4-0 win.

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Gurriel, Bregman, Alvarez lead offense

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start to his season, at mid-season Gerrit Cole is making a bid for the Cy Young award. After winning Pitcher of the Month Award, and going 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA since May 27th, Cole shut out the Angels for seven innings today, adding nine more strikeouts to his AL leading strikeout total.

His last pitch, #110, was a strikeout clocked at 101 MPH. Gerrit Cole is the only starting pitcher in baseball this year to record a strikeout on a pitch 100 MPH or greater. He did it for the sixth time this year today.

Cole leads the American league in strikeouts with 170, and after trailing far behind the pack in ERA most of the season, at 3.09 his current ERA would be seventh in the AL pending results of tonight’s games. But in advanced stats he is at or near the top in most categories; xFIP, 1st, 2.61; SIERA, 1st, 2.88; xWOBA, 1st .260; K%, 1st, 36.8%; K-BB%, 1st, 30.4%.

Meanwhile, Astros bats were active enough to maintain a comfortable lead by the time of Cole’s departure. The Astros scored one run in each of innings 4, 5, 6, and 7.

In the fourth inning Josh Reddick singled home Alex Bregman, who had singled earlier and reached second on a Yordan Alvarez single.

In the fifth inning George Springer scored on an Alex Bregman double off the left field wall.

In the sixth inning Yuli Gurriel hit the game’s only home run, a solo shot to right field similar to the one he hit last night. It is his eighth home run in ten games and 13th of the year.

In the seventh inning Yordan Alvarez doubled home Alex Bregman on a line drive to right field off the end of his bat that missed being a home run by an inch or two.

Note: All the Astros runs except for the Gurriel lead-off home run were scored with two outs.

The Angels put the game in doubt in the eighth by loading the bases on Ryan Pressly with one out and Shohei Ohtani at bat. But Pressly got Ohtani to pop-up, and ended the threat by inducing a swinging strikeout on clean-up hitter Kole Calhoun.

Collin McHugh closed the game for the Stros by striking out all three Angels he faced in the ninth. His slider looked like a cartoon pitch. Is McHugh back and dominant? Early returns say yes indeed.

Tomorrow Jose Urquidy goes for the Stros in his second MLB game. He will face the Angels’ Jose Suarez.

Game time 1:10 PM

Box score and videos HERE.