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Gerrit Cole blanks Astros in return to Minute Maid Park

Third consecutive loss as Yankees shut out ‘Stros for the second game in a row.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros’ offense is not in a good position right now. On Saturday night, they were silenced again, this time by former Astro Gerrit Cole, who threw a complete game, shutout to lead the Yankees to a 1-0 victory. The lone run of the contest came on a solo shot from Aaron Judge’s bat to Zack Greinke.

Cole, who threw 129 pitches (most in MLB this season), stymied his former teammates during the nine innings. As a matter of fact, the Astros got their first hit after one out in the fifth inning, thanks to an Abraham Toro single. Cole allowed three hits, gave up two bases on balls, and struck out 12 Astros in his comeback to Minute Maid Park since joining New York.

This is the first time that any starter has shut out Houston and stuck out at least 12 hitters since Carlos Carrasco did so on September 17, 2014.

On the other side, Greinke —who took his third loss of the campaign— lasted only four innings of three-hit, one-run ball. His only mistake in the game was this monster solo jack from Judge…

According to Dusty Baker’s words, Greinke left the game early due to right shoulder soreness and we have to assume he’s getting evaluated on Sunday.

After Greinke was pulled, Cristian Javier came in with three scoreless frames, one hit, one walk, and five punchouts. Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly followed Javier with two shutout innings to end the night.

While the offense has been struggling these past several days, in contrast, the Astros’ bullpen has fluorished, surrendering 13 hits and just 4 runs for a 2.00 ERA over 18 innings since Tuesday.

But back to the ugly part: the offense. Houston has lost three games in a row, a span in which its hitters have scored only once. Even worse: in the last two contests (both shutouts), the offense has recorded only 6 hits. The Astros have averaged just 4 hits per game over their last 4 games.

Needing to avoid a sweep in hands of the Yankees, they will hit the field on Sunday (1:10 pm CT) with Framber Valdez on the mound. Jameson Taillon will get the ball for New York.