Cole fires gem on his birthday
HOUSTON — Gerrit Cole had a special game on his 29th birthday Sunday.
If not for Shed Long’s homer into the short porch in left field, the day would have been perfect.
Cole allowed one hit with 15 strikeouts in a season-high eight innings, and the Houston Astros routed Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners 21-1 to complete a fourgame sweep.
“He makes it look pretty easy,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “He was locked in command-wise, intensity-wise.”
Cole (16-5) won his 12th straight decision and joined Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers in major league history with 14 or more strikeouts in three straight games. Cole leads the major league with a career-high 281 strikeouts, and his 2.73 ERA in second in the AL behind the 2.52 for teammate Justin Verlander.
One of the toughest parts of Cole’s day was staying loose.
“I’m not complaining, but it was challenging a couple times when you’re scoring that many runs,” he stuffwise, said.
Chris Devenski struck out two in a perfect ninth, finishing a series in which Houston outscored the Mariners 41-15.
Jake Marisnick and George Springer homered, and rookie Yordan Alvarez had a season-high six RBIs and hit three of Houston’s team-record 11 doubles. The Astros are 16-1 against Seattle this year.
After beating Baltimore 23-2 earlier this season, Sunday’s win made the Astros the first team to win two games by 20 or more runs in a season since the New York Yankees in 1939.
With 40 strikeouts in his last three starts, Gerrit Cole is 19 shy of 300 for the season.