Houston gets shutout again

Gerrit Cole dominates the Astros with a complete-game shutout in return to Houston

Gerrit Cole dominated his former team on Saturday night to give the Yankees the win. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

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

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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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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