Houston gets shutout again
Gerrit Cole dominates the Astros with a complete-game shutout in return to Houston
With their temporarily struggling offense resulting in back-to-back losses including the opener of this series, the Astros tried to right the ship in the middle game on Saturday to keep the series win in play. Gerrit Cole would not allow it, though, as he would put on an incredible performance to keep Houston's bats cold, locking up the series for the Yankees.
Final Score: Yankees 1, Astros 0
Astros' Record: 54-35, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (9-4)
Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (8-3)
Greinke exits early, Judge scores the only early run against him
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Whether it was planned or due to something unseen, Zack Greinke would go just four innings in this start against the Yankees. Over that span, he only had one mistake, a hanging pitch to Aaron Judge in the top of the third which he sent out of the ballpark for New York's first run, giving them a 1-0 lead which, with Gerrit Cole's performance, felt like enough. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 65 P.
Cole dominates in his return to Houston with a complete-game shutout
The 1-0 lead felt much larger than that with Cole keeping the Astros' bats at bay over an impressive start. He didn't face a baserunner at all until a walk in the bottom of the fourth, and inning after inning continued to extend Houston's scoreless streak. After Greinke's night was done, Cristian Javier entered for Houston to try and eat up some innings, and he would do his job well. He erased a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth for a scoreless inning, as well as a single in the top of the sixth, He gave his team one more inning, a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, finishing three impressive innings to maintain the one-run deficit.
Ryne Stanek was next, and thanks to an inning-ending double play he was able to work around a leadoff single and one-out walk to strand the runners and keep it 1-0. With it still stuck at that score in the top of the ninth, Houston brought in closer Ryan Pressly to give their offense one more chance in the home half of the inning. Surprisingly, Cole returned to the mound for New York in the bottom of the ninth, entering with 112 pitches. After a leadoff single, he would get two outs, reaching 126 pitches, and turned Yankees manager Aaron Boone away when he tried to come and get the ball from him. He would make it the right decision, as with his 129th pitch he would strike out Yordan Alvarez to finish the complete-game shutout.
Up Next: The finale of this series and the "first half" of the season before the All-Star break will be a 1:10 PM Central Start on Sunday. The Astros will hand the ball to Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.86 ERA) while the Yankees will send Jameson Taillon (4-4, 5.05 ERA) to the mound.
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