EditorsNote: rewords third graf
Gerrit Cole recorded his 12th double-digit strikeout performance this season, and a trio of Cuban-born sluggers provided offensive support as the Houston Astros rolled to an 11-1 win over the visiting Oakland Athletics on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.
Yordan Alvarez (Las Tunas), Yuli Gurriel (Sancti Spiritus) and Aledmys Diaz (Santa Clara) all belted home runs off A’s right-hander Homer Bailey (8-7) as Houston exploded to an 11-run lead by the close of the third inning.
Bailey surrendered nine runs on eight hits and failed to record an out in the third. He was chased when Diaz crushed a three-run home run to left-center field in only his second plate appearance following a 47-game absence caused by a left hamstring strain.
Alvarez finished 2-for-3 with two walks. His leadoff homer to right-center in the second ignited a four-run frame. His run-scoring double in the third bumped his RBI total to 35 in 30 career games, eclipsing the major league record set by Albert Pujols with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001.
Gurriel bashed a two-run home run that scored Alvarez in the third and built the lead to 6-0. Gurriel extended his hitting streak to 11 games and set a single-season high with his 19th homer. He finished 3-for-3 and has recorded 14 homers and 31 RBIs over his last 23 games.
Alvarez, Diaz and Gurriel drove in a combined eight runs as Houston extended its winning streak to six games while extending its lead over second-place Oakland in the American League West to 7 1/2 games. The Astros improved to 34-11 against division foes.
Cole (11-5) logged seven innings, allowing one run on two hits and one walk with 11 strikeouts. He surpassed 200 strikeouts on the season, doing so for the second time in as many years with the Astros after reaching that plateau once in five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Only Randy Johnson (130 2/3 innings) has ever hit 200 faster in a season than Cole did (133 1/3 innings).
Cole did not allow a baserunner until Matt Chapman doubled with one out in the fourth. Chapman scored two batters later when Mark Canha also doubled to right, but that was the extent of the damage.
—Field Level Media