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Cole dazzles with 16 K's in 1st career shutout

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Gerrit Cole continues to be the early front-runner for acquisition of the year.

Cole added to his resume Friday when he struck out a career-high 16 while giving up only a fifth-inning double for his first career shutout and first career one-hitter, an 8-0 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

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PHOENIX -- Gerrit Cole continues to be the early front-runner for acquisition of the year.

Cole added to his resume Friday when he struck out a career-high 16 while giving up only a fifth-inning double for his first career shutout and first career one-hitter, an 8-0 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

View Full Game Coverage

He has 77 strikeouts in his first seven starts with the Astros, a Major League record for a pitcher in his first seven starts with a new team, according to Elias. Chris Sale had 73 with Boston last year.

"We've had a ton of consecutive really good pitching performances this year, and none is going to top that to this point," Houston manager AJ Hinch said.

"Wow. It's hard to describe. It's an incredible display of pitching."

Video: HOU@ARI: Hinch on Cole's dominant one-hit shutout

Cole commanded all four of his pitches and finished with a flourish, throwing a 99 mph fastball to get Jarrod Dyson to foul out on an 0-2 pitch for the last out. The previous two pitches to Dyson were at 98 and 99.

"I felt like he wasn't playing fair and cheating today because he didn't let us touch the ball," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said jokingly.

"I'll make light of that because it was a special night. He had things moving in a real good direction. He deserves a lot of credit because everything was working."

Meanwhile, Houston's front four -- George Springer, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel -- combined for 11 hits, eight runs and seven RBIs as the Astros broke a three-game losing streak.

Video: HOU@ARI: Gurriel collects 4 hits, drives in 3

"There's no plan that could have worked against [Cole] today," Correa said.

Cole leads the Majors in strikeouts and has four double-digit strikeout games this season, setting his previous career high with 14 in a 3-2 victory over Texas on April 13. He struck out the side in the second, third and fourth innings, and got at least one batter in every inning but the first and the ninth.

Video: HOU@ARI: Cole K's Avila for his 16th K of the night

"There's been some tweaks, for sure," said Cole, acquired from Pittsburgh over the winter.

"I really evaluated my sequencing, both with the organization and with Justin [Verlander] and Dallas [Keuchel] especially. I'm in such a good spot, physically, the best I've been in my career. My direction to the plate. My core. I'm able to repeat [delivery] at such a high level, and that has a lot to do with it.

"And the preparation. And my teammates going ... to the wall for a popup in a game that is going our way. That's pretty unique. Pretty special."

Video: HOU@ARI: Cole on his stellar one-hitter with 16 K's

Cole threw 39 fastballs at 95 mph or above, and he also had four strikeouts with his breaking stuff.

"He mixed his pitches," Hinch said. "You have to throw these guys secondary pitches for strikes and get into the count, and he kind of had them where he wanted them, where he could do anything.

"He had great location. Even when he missed, he barely missed. One or two hard contacts. Other than that, he was controlling the entire game."

Video: HOU@ARI: Cole K's 16 D-backs in 16 seconds

Cole walked one, David Peralta to lead off the fourth inning, and the no-hitter remained intact when left fielder Josh Reddick made a sliding catch in short left field to take a hit away from Daniel Descalso leading off the fifth.

Chris Owings, the next batter, lined a double to left field and went to third on a groundout but was left there when Cole struck out Alex Avila on a breaking ball.

Video: HOU@ARI: Owings doubles to left for D-backs' lone hit

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Springer used his speed to kick-start two rallies that helped give Cole a cushion.

Springer beat out a slow roller to D-backs shortstop -- and former UConn college teammate -- Nick Ahmed with two outs in the second inning. A walk and a Correa double later, the Astros has two more runs to push their lead to 4-0.

Video: HOU@ARI: Correa drives a 2-run double to right field

Springer did it again in the fourth, beating out a roller toward second before a Correa double and a Gurriel single made it 6-0. A replay review overturned the original out call on Springer's hit.

"Obviously those weren't hit very hard, but it's still effective," Springer said. "if I can get on base for our guys behind, a lot of stuff can happen."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Reddick temporarily saved Cole's no-hitter when he made a sliding catch near the line in short left on Descaslo's high popup against a shift. Reddick, shifted toward left-center, ran 100 feet in 5.3 seconds, according to Statcast™, to make the grab.

Video: HOU@ARI: Reddick dives and tumbles for terrific catch

HE SAID IT
"That was a heck of a catch. The best I've ever seen. He timed it perfectly. He got up. That's what I'm used to doing to people and not having it done to people." -- Houston center field Jake Marisnick, who had a home run taken away in the fifth inning when Arizona right fielder Dyson got his glove a foot over the fence to catch the long fly

Video: HOU@ARI: Dyson reaches over the fence to rob a homer

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With one out in the fourth and the Astros holding a four-run lead, Springer was called out when second baseman Owings' throw appeared to beat Springer to first. The Astros challenged the ruling, which was overturned, opening the door for a three-run inning.

Video: HOU@ARI: Springer safe at first on overturned call

UP NEXT
Charlie Morton will oppose right-hander Zack Greinke on Saturday in the penultimate game of the D-backs' "World Series week." Houston visits Chase Field just after Arizona split a four-game series against the Dodgers. Morton struck out 10 in a 2-1 victory over the Yankees on Monday, working a season-high 7 2/3 innings and giving up a season-low two hits.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole