Gerrit Cole vs. Texas Rangers, Third Start of 2018

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The Pineapple Returns And Cole Fans Fourteen

Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel made his 2018 debut Friday night as Gerrit Cole dominated yet again.

April 13, 2018 - 10:51 pm
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Houston (SPORTSRADIO 610) - Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel made his 2018 season debut Friday night at Minute Maid Park. He served his five-game suspension for his incident during the World Series, finished his rehab assignment following surgery on his hand and was activated off the Disabled List prior to the game. Batting fifth, Yuli singled in his first plate appearance and went 1-for-4 as the Astros topped Rangers by a final score of 3-2.

On the mound, Gerrit Cole continued mowing down hitters with 14 strikeouts through 7 innings of work, which brings his total this season to 36 through 3 starts and 21 innings. In his career, Cole had just six double-digit strikeout games, and he already has three this season. The 14 punch outs Friday are also a career high and tie a stadium record. 

"That was an incredible performance," Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said. "What a great job of getting into the game, setting a tone, even finishing after a couple of solo homers, he did a great job of leading us tonight."

Additionally, the 14 strikeouts in 93 pitches is the fewest amount of pitches needed in MLB history to reach that many strikeouts. Cole also joins Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers in recorded Major League history to strikeout 11 or more in each of their first three starts of the season. Ryan did it in his first three starts of the 1973 season.

"That's pretty awesome. The guy was a pretty good pitcher, to say the least. I mean I'm thrilled, but like I said... We just played a really good game tonight," Gerrit said.

The offense came from George Springer, who is off to a slow start this season. He hit two home runs, both off Rangers starter Cole Hamels, for his eighth career multi-homer game. Springer also homered off Hamels on Opening Day in Arlington.

Going into Friday night, George was batting just .173. With a 2-for-4 night, he brought his average up to .196. While a slow start is frustrating, there are still plenty of games to be played.

"This is obviously a time where an average can go up, down, by 80 points in a game and you can't really just stay focused on the scoreboard," Springer said. "We have 150 to go and you can't get caught up in the scoreboard."