Perhaps one might hope that when the best team in baseball plays the worst team in baseball, that the best team would win every game in a four game series. Well, the Astros did lose a game, and although a sweep seemed tantalizingly close, as Meatloaf would say, three out of four ain’t bad.
Gerrit Cole was as outright filthy dominant tonight as Justin Verlander was last night, except no home runs. No runs, period. In seven innings Cole allowed only two hits, one walk, and fanned twelve. Having missed two starts due to a minor hamstring issue, he showed no rust, throwing 65 strikes out of 94 pitches.
Here’s 12 Ks in 33 seconds by the pitching ninja.
Gerrit Cole, 12Ks in 33 Seconds. pic.twitter.com/cqUzTwzoZ4— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 23, 2019
Meanwhile, the Astros bats came back to life a bit tonight, starting with Alex Bregman’s two- run, line-drive homer in the fourth inning that barely cleared the wall in the Crawford Boxes.
The Stros added another run in the sixth with a Yordan Alvarez double that scored Michael Brantley. It was Alvarez’ 57th RBI in his first 57 games played.
The Astros added what turned out to be three all-important runs in the seventh. Josh Reddick led off with a single, followed by two consecutive walks by George Springer and Jose Altuve loading the bases. Michael Brantley then smacked a two-run single, and with the bases loaded Yuli Gurriel blooped an RBI single to center to account for the last of the six runs scored by the Astros.
Brantley continues his run at the batting title, the professional hitter going three for four tonight, raising his BA to .338. Meanwhile Abraham Toro-Hernandez, who made his major league debut tonight, was 0 for 4, but did not strike out.
Astros be cruisin until the ninth inning, when Manager Hinch decided to conserve the heart of his bullpen and give recent AAA call-up Joe Biagini a chance to get a mop-up inning in the ninth. Biagini gave up three runs on two home runs when he left with two outs and one man on.
No worries, closer Roberto Osuna in to save the day, literally. He did, after walking the first batter he faced, putting the tying run at the plate. After the recent walk-off homer against Osuna and the Astros by the Orioles, after last night’s game winner in the ninth against Verlander, one could hear the collective yearning of every Astros fan as Dawell Lugo came to bat: NO HOME RUN.
Lugo sent one deep to right field. Back goes Reddick. Back, back, back, to the wall. Reddick reaches up and.......makes the catch at the tippy top of the wall. Game over, Astros win.
Way too close to yet another disaster against a cellar-dweller. But Astros win.
They face the Angels tomorrow.
The Angels send to be announced (0-0, 0.00 ERA) against Zack Greinke (13-4, 2.84 ERA)
Game time 7:10 CDT
Box score and videos HERE.