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Cole K's 14, continues record-setting run

Righty sets new career high, passes MLB mark for most K's in first 3 starts with new team
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- When you're sharing the record books with Hall of Famers like Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, something special is happening.

That's the case for Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, who struck out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings Friday night, tying a Minute Maid Park record by an Astros pitcher in the process, in Houston's 3-2 win over the Rangers.

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HOUSTON -- When you're sharing the record books with Hall of Famers like Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson, something special is happening.

That's the case for Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, who struck out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings Friday night, tying a Minute Maid Park record by an Astros pitcher in the process, in Houston's 3-2 win over the Rangers.

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Cole joined Ryan as the only pitchers in Major League history to strike out at least 11 in three consecutive starts to a season.

"He was going with what was working," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "He reads hitters extremely well, and he knows his strengths. He knows what he can do with the ball, and he's executing at a high end. With that skill, that mindset, the approach, the way he thinks about the outing between innings, he can create any game plan and execute it right now."

Video: TEX@HOU: Hinch discusses Cole's dominant performance

Cole also set an MLB record with 36 strikeouts in his first three starts with a new team, surpassing Randy Johnson in 1999 with the Diamondbacks (34). The 14 strikeouts tied the Minute Maid Park record for an Astros pitcher, originally set by Bud Norris in 2010.

"It's pretty awesome," Cole said. "[Ryan] was a pretty good pitcher, to say the least. I'm thrilled, but like I said, we just played a really great game tonight. We were able to get the lead back after we gave it up. It's huge when you can do that late in the game and not go into extras, kind of finish it off and move on to the next one."

Tweet from @astros: A MAN POSSESSED. pic.twitter.com/fOhCvTXxo0

It was the second time already this season Cole has dominated the Rangers. He fanned 11 Rangers and allowed one run and two hits in seven innings in Arlington on April 1. In his second start of the season, Cole struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings April 7 against the Padres.

Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos hit back-to-back homers off Cole in the seventh to tie the game, but he whiffed Robinson to end the inning for strikeout No. 14.

"It was a fascinating turn of events there," Cole said. "I'm going to have to learn from it."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole