Gerrit Cole leads Astros to 11-1 win over Athletics
HOUSTON (AP) — On the night the Houston Astros celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by NASA’s Apollo 11, the number 11 factored prominently into a lopsided win over the Oakland Athletics.
Gerrit Cole pitched seven strong innings and Aledmys Diaz, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel homered as the Astros jumped on Homer Bailey for nine runs early and sailed to an 11-1 win over the Athletics on Monday night.
“I think it’s very appropriate we scored 11 runs,” manager AJ Hinch said sporting the special cap with the Apollo 11 mission logo the team donned for the celebration.
But the 11 runs weren’t the only 11 for the Astros on this night when the three homers they blasted helped them to their sixth straight victory.
Cole yielded two hits and one run while striking out 11 to collect his 11th win and help Houston improve to 8-1 against the Athletics this season. Cole has recorded double-digit strikeouts in three straight games, giving him an MLB-leading 205 this season.
Cole (11-5) has won seven straight decisions, with his last loss coming on May 22.
Rick Armstrong, the son of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Apollo 11 night at the ballpark, which came two days after the 50th anniversary of the first landing.
Alvarez got things going for Houston when he sent Bailey’s second pitch of the second inning beyond the bullpen in right-center to put the Astros up 1-0.
Alvarez drew a four-pitch walk to open the third inning before Gurriel’s homer to left field pushed the lead to 6-0. Gurriel has an 11-game hitting streak and has hit 14 home runs in his last 23 games to give him a career-best 19 homers this season.
“We never really let him breathe,” Hinch said of Bailey. “We have a really long lineup … and when we put that kind of lineup together and that kind of approach we can really, really make it difficult on the pitcher. He had really nowhere to go when we were putting up quality at-bat after quality at-bat. And it was a good sight to see.”
Diaz, who was playing in his first game since May 26 because of a hamstring injury, then belted a fastball to left field to make it 9-0 and chase Bailey (8-7).
Bailey, who was acquired from Kansas City on July 14, allowed a season-high nine runs and tied a season high with eight hits in just two-plus innings. It was the first loss since June 1 for the veteran right-hander, who had won four straight decisions capped by Wednesday’s win against Seattle in his debut for the Athletics.
“It just didn’t look like he had as good a life on his fastball,” manager Bob Melvin said. “They had him on the run early, and they put some really good at-bats together.”
Alvarez doubled in a run off Brian Schlitter with two outs in the inning to give him 35 RBIs, which is the most in major league history by a player in his first 30 games, surpassing the 34 Albert Pujols had in 2001.
Those were the only two hits as the Athletics ended a streak of 21 straight games with a home run.
Oakland’s minor league pitchers threw two no-hitters Monday, one by Class A Stockton and another by the club’s the rookie-level Arizona League affiliate. Stockton’s combined no-hitter was caught by big league catcher Nick Hundley , who is there on an injury rehab assignment following knee surgery last month.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa (broken rib) will continue a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock this week where he is scheduled to play on Tuesday and Wednesday before being activated from the 60-day injured list on Friday.
THEY SAID IT
Alvarez on taking a second to pose for the television cameras in the dugout with fellow Cubans Gurriel and Diaz after Diaz’s home run: “I just took a glance at Yuli and when (Diaz) hit it out we just all decided to come together at the end of the dugout there. It’s something that’s really great, especially for three Cuban players to do it. So we just took advantage of it,” he said in Spanish through a translator.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.64 ERA) is scheduled to start for Oakland on Tuesday night. Fiers, who pitched for Houston from 2015-17, is 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last 13 starts beginning with his no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 7.