Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-0 win
Houston needed a win on Saturday night to even the series at a game apiece after dropping the opening game the night prior. Here is how the game went:
Final Score: Astros 4, Angels 0.
Record: 56-33, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.09 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Andrew Heaney (1-3, 5.18 ERA).
1) Award-winning pitching by Cole
Gerrit Cole, the recipient of the AL pitcher of the month award for his month of June, kept his streak of strong starts alive with a tremendous performance on national television on Saturday night. On a night where he wasn't able to record the double-digit strikeout performance he usually provides, it was still a gem to watch, with Cole only allowing three hits over seven shutout innings.
Cole was peppering in fastballs over 100 mph consistently, including the last pitch of his night, a 101 mph heater to get his ninth strikeout and end the top of the seventh inning on his 110th pitch. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
2) Offense backs him up with some runs
While Cole was stringing together scoreless inning after inning, Houston's bats were able to give him some support with a few runs along the way as well. The first run of the night came in the bottom of the fourth after Alex Bregman led the inning off with a single, then later scored on a two-out RBI-single by Josh Reddick.
Bregman would play a part in another scoring play in the next inning, getting a two-out RBI of his own with a double to extend the lead to 2-0. Yuli Gurriel, a name seen in many of the Astros' highlights over the last week, led the bottom of the sixth inning by sneaking a home run over the right field wall, making it a 3-0 Houston advantage.
Bregman would yet again factor into another run, working a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh before scoring on a double by Yordan Alvarez that just barely missed being a home run, but instead bounced off the top of the right field wall and back into play. That made it a 4-0 advantage, which they'd hold on to for the win.
3) Pressly and McHugh close it out
With Cole able to finish out seven innings, Houston was in the position to put in their regular eighth and ninth inning relievers: Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna. Pressly took over on the mound in the eighth, and despite loading the bases on a couple of walks and a single, was able to keep the game at 4-0.
With the lead still at four runs going into the ninth, making it a non-save situation, the Astros chose to let Collin McHugh have the ninth instead of Osuna. McHugh did his job, closing out the shutout win by striking out the side to even the series and make Sunday's game a winner-take-all.
Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this series and head into the All-Star break with the final game of the first half of the season at 1:10 PM tomorrow. The expected pitching matchup for the rubber game is Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.40 ERA) for Los Angeles and Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.91 ERA) for Houston, making his second career start.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.