BALTIMORE -- Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole capped a terrific first regular season in a Houston uniform by surpassing the 200-innings mark, holding the Orioles to five hits and one run over six innings in a 2-1 win in Friday night's series opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.The victory was
BALTIMORE -- Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole capped a terrific first regular season in a Houston uniform by surpassing the 200-innings mark, holding the Orioles to five hits and one run over six innings in a 2-1 win in Friday night's series opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The victory was the 101st of the season for the Astros, tying last year's World Series championship club for the second most in team history. Houston needs one win in its final three games of the regular season to tie the 1998 team's record of 102.
"I thought a lot of the personal numbers reflect how well we played as a team this year," Cole said. "Certainly, the innings mark for sure. You're never going to get there if you don't play good defense and if you don't prepare as a catching staff. A lot of credit goes to the other guys, and I just kind of reaped the benefits of being on a quality team."
Cole joined teammates Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel by reaching 200 innings -- the first time three Astros pitchers have done that since Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte in 2005. What's more, the Astros are the only team in the Major Leagues this season to have three pitchers throw at least 200 innings.
"It's a mark that's continuing to be more and more rare," Cole said. "There's 15 last year that did it, and I think there's going to be less this year. I certainly don't really have any theories for why it's decreasing. I think the human body can still, obviously, carry that workload, and I feel strong. It's a quality, like I said, taking the ball every day and playing good defense and being prepared and just trying to give your team the best chance to win."
In his first season with the Astros, Cole went 15-5, struck out a career-high 276 batters, allowed 143 hits in 200 1/3 innings and posted a 2.88 ERA in 32 starts. His next start will come against the Indians in the American League Division Series.
"The Division Series can't come fast enough for us at this point," Cole said.
Cole, acquired by the Astros in a January trade with the Pirates, reached 200 innings on Adam Jones' grounder to short for the second out of the sixth. He entered with 194 1/3 innings and reached 200 for the third time in his career and second season in a row. He threw 208 frames in 2015 and 203 in '17, both for the Pirates.
"He exceeded really anything we could have hoped for," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "It's not easy to get to 200 innings, it's not easy to post every time and give the quality he did -- the strikeout numbers, the low hit total. The way he goes about it, he was exceptional. It's one of the reasons we traded for him. It's one thing to have expectations and another thing to step up and do it when everyone expects it."
Josh Reddick tied the game in the sixth with his 17th homer of the season off rookie David Hess, and Marwin Gonzalez drove in the go-ahead run with a single to left in the eighth against Tanner Scott.
"It was a tough game to play," Hinch said. "We didn't get into it very easily. Gerrit did a good job getting through his outing. I'm proud of his work in the regular season. A big hit by Reddick, obviously, and a big hit by Marwin, and we escape with the win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jake Marisnick, who entered the game in the sixth inning for his defense, saved the day for the Astros when he charged in and made a terrific diving catch to rob Renato Nunez of a hit and strand John Andreoli at second base to end the game. Marisnick didn't get a good jump, but he was able to close space and catch the ball just before it hit the ground, keeping the Orioles from tying the game.
"The situation, you're looking to throw a guy out at home there," Marisnick said. "Once I got a read on it, I thought I had a chance to catch it and was able to come down with it. It's kind of in between: Am I going to dive or am I going to be able to sit back and make a good throw here? I ended up going with the more aggressive play."
In 16 career games in Baltimore, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is hitting .435. He leads the Majors in batting average on the road this season at .346.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Altuve began the game with a bunt single, with Statcast™ clocking him at 31.3 feet per second down the first-base line (30 feet per second is considered elite). His time of 3.6 seconds to first base is the fastest by an Astros player this year.
HE SAID IT
"Defensively, you don't get to do too many walk-off things. That was pretty cool out there," -- Marisnick, on his game-saving catch to end the ninth
The Astros will play a doubleheader against the Orioles on Saturday, with the first game scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CT and the second to follow 30 minutes after. Verlander (16-9, 2.60 ERA) will start Game 1 and Keuchel (12-11, 3.75 ERA) will start Game 2. The Orioles will turn to Dylan Bundy (8-16, 5.49 ERA) in the first game and Yefry Ramirez (1-7, 6.07 ERA) in the second.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.