Baseball / MLB

Gerrit Cole reaches 300 strikeouts for season as Astros clinch playoff berth

AP, Reuters

Gerrit Cole wanted to get his milestone strikeout at home, and he accomplished the feat in an important win for the Houston Astros.

Cole struck out 10 batters, including his 300th of the season, in eight strong innings, Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve homered and the Astros beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 Wednesday night to lock up a postseason berth.

Houston won its fifth straight and 100th game of the season, becoming one of six teams in major league history to win at least 100 games in three straight seasons. The Astros lost at least 100 games in three straight seasons from 2011 to 2013.

The Astros (100-53) have a one-game lead on the New York Yankees for the best record in the majors. Houston can clinch the AL West as early as Friday with a win and loss by Oakland.

Cole (18-5) allowed two runs on six hits in earning his 14th straight win. He hasn’t lost since May 22 against the White Sox, a span of 20 starts. Cole struck out 10 or more for the seventh straight start, tying the club record set earlier this season by Justin Verlander.

“He’s incredible,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “He’s a special player; he’s a special person. It was a big night for him. That’s a big accomplishment. He did it in a win. He’s been a workhorse for us the entire year. These performances that he just rattles off is not easy. He makes it look a lot easier than it is.”

Cole, the major league leader in strikeouts, became the third Houston pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts in a season, joining J.R. Richard, who had 313 in 1979 and 303 in 1978, and Mike Scott, who struck out 306 in 1986. He also became the 18th pitcher in MLB’s modern era (since 1900) to accomplish the feat.

Cole struck out Choo Shin-soo to end the sixth inning for his 300th of the season.

Giants 11, Red Sox 3

In Boston, Jeff Samardzija took a no-hitter into the sixth inning to highlight Bruce Bochy’s 2,000th managerial victory as San Francisco routed the hosts.

Bochy became the 11th skipper in big league history to accomplish the feat, doing so just over a week before he intends to retire.

“I’ve been lucky. I’ve been blessed to have been doing this this long. That’s what it means.” Bochy said.

Fans who stuck around Fenway Park were chanting Bochy’s name at the end and Boston manager Alex Cora saluted from the opposite dugout, knowing the significance of what Bochy has achieved in 25 years of managing.

“That number just represents so many people, more than anybody are those players,” Bochy said. “Hopefully when they hear that number, they realize what a big part they had to do with it. It doesn’t happen without them.”

Stephen Vogt had four RBIs, and Kevin Pillar and Cristhian Adames added three hits as San Francisco won its third straight.

Angels 3, Yankees 2

In New York, Michael Hermosillo scored the tiebreaking run on a throwing error by reliever Adam Ottavino in the sixth inning, and Los Angeles prevented the Yankees from clinching the AL East in what was likely CC Sabathia’s final home start.

The Yankees needed a win or a loss by Tampa Bay to clinch their first division title since 2012.

In Other Games

Cardinals 5, Nationals 1

Rays 8, Dodgers 7 (11)

Reds 3, Cubs 2 (10)

Mets 7, Rockies 4

Padres 2, Brewers 1

Phillies 4, Braves 1

Athletics 1, Royals 0 (11)

White Sox 3, Twins 1

Indians 2, Tigers 1 (10)

Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 4

Mariners 4, Pirates 1

Blue Jays 11, Orioles 10