Cole pitches Astros past Yankees 4-1 for 2-1 lead in ALCS

A gritty Cole held the New York Yankees scoreless without his sharpest stuff, Jose Altuve sparked Houston at the plate and the Astros locked down a 4-1 victory Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.

News 12 Staff

Oct 16, 2019, 1:35 AM

Updated 1,646 days ago

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NEW YORK (AP) - Far from his best, Gerrit Cole was still unbeatable. Heck, he didn't even give up a run.

A gritty Cole held the New York Yankees scoreless without his sharpest stuff, Jose Altuve sparked Houston at the plate and the Astros locked down a 4-1 victory Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Altuve and Josh Reddick homered early off Luis Severino, who labored into the fifth while keeping the Yankees close. But they never broke through against Cole, who grinded through seven innings to win his 19th straight decision despite walking five batters for the second time in his career.

"Just boiled down to making some good pitches under pressure," he said.

Cole pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and stranded nine runners through five, improving to 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in three outings this postseason. Poised to become a prized free agent this fall who could command more than $200 million, he's putting together a dominant run that's beginning to rival some of baseball's greatest October pitching performances.

The 29-year-old right-hander, unbeaten in 25 starts since his last loss on May 22, allowed four hits and struck out seven. That ended a streak of 11 consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts - the previous big league record was eight. Cole led the majors with 326 Ks this season.

Game 4 in the best-of-seven playoff is scheduled for Wednesday night - but that could change. The gloomy weather forecast calls for a substantial storm with steady-to-heavy rain and wind all night in New York, potentially forcing a postponement that would likely alter pitching plans for both teams.

Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth off Houston reliever Joe Smith, one batter after replay umpires reversed a call and ruled Edwin Encarnación out at first base. That led to a little trash and a ball being thrown onto the field before public address announcer Paul Olden reminded fans not to toss any objects out of the stands.
 
VIDEO: News 12's Kevin Maher talks to Yanks fans hyped for the ALCS
Roberto Osuna got three quick outs in the ninth for a save.
Cole got away with several pitches in key situations and, other times, flashed the nasty breakings balls and 98-100 mph heat that have made him so unhittable in these playoffs - and unbeatable since May.

After rolling to a 7-0 victory in the series opener, the Yankees - the highest-scoring team in the majors this season - have totaled three runs in the last 20 innings.

"It's obviously a little frustrating we weren't able to break through with him," New York manager Aaron Boone said. "But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance. And anytime you're facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to."

With two on in the fifth and the Yankees trailing 2-0, Didi Gregorius flied out to Reddick at the right field fence. Cole finally found his rhythm after that, retiring his last seven batters with three strikeouts.

He called his early fastball command "spotty."

"I mean, we just had to work it," Cole said.

Houston got a rally going in the seventh against scuffling reliever Adam Ottavino. George Springer walked and went to third when Altuve, who homered on Severino's third pitch, executed a perfect run-and-hit single through the right side.

After some savvy baserunning by Springer to stay in a rundown long enough to get runners to second and third, one run scored on a wild pitch by Zack Britton. Yuli Gurriel then made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly.
 
 


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