September 8, 2019 / 9:24 PM / 8 days ago

Astros erupt for 21 runs against Mariners as Cole cruises

EditorsNote: Fixed Hernandez record to 1-6 in 6th graf, Astros sent 14 batters to plate (not 13) in final graf, minor edits

Sep 8, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch (left) and general manager Jeff Luhnow (middle) greet players entering the dugout before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros hammered the visiting Seattle Mariners for 21 runs on 22 hits, and Gerrit Cole set a single-season standard for strikeouts in a 21-1 rout on Sunday afternoon to complete a four-game series sweep.

Houston scored four in the second inning, nine in the third, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and five in the seventh for the runaway win.

Cole (16-5) extended his winning streak to 12 by surrendering one run on one hit with a season-high 15 strikeouts over eight dominant innings. His strikeout of Seattle right fielder Keon Broxton in the sixth inning was his 11th of the game and 277th on the season, eclipsing the 276 strikeouts he recorded in 2018, his first season with the Astros.

Cole extended his franchise record of double-digit strikeout performances to 17 this season, including five in succession. He became the second pitcher in history with at least 14 strikeouts in three consecutive starts (Pedro Martinez, 1999). He threw 96 pitches on his 29th birthday.

The Astros improved to 16-1 against Seattle this season, a mark that includes a 10-0 record at home. Houston is 16-4 over its last 20 games and matched its franchise record with its 55th home victory this season. The Astros are 27-4 over their last 31 games at Minute Maid Park.

Mariners veteran right-hander Felix Hernandez (1-6) was partially undone by a fielding error from shortstop Dee Gordon that allowed Kyle Tucker and Abraham Toro to score and Martin Maldonado to reach base with two outs in the second. On his ensuring pitch to Jake Marisnick, Hernandez surrendered a 432-foot blast to left that allowed Houston to extend its lead to 4-0.

Hernandez did not retire any of the seven batters he faced in the third. Jose Altuve, Aledmys Diaz, Tucker, Alvarez and Maldonado doubled off Hernandez during the onslaught, with Alvarez plating Altuve and Alex Bregman with his double to right while Diaz, Tucker and Maldonado notched an RBI apiece.

Hernandez departed after Maldonado plated Tucker, but the Astros kept piling on against reliever Erik Swanson, including a George Springer three-run homer, his 31st.

Houston sent 14 batters to the plate during the nine-run third. The Astros capped the afternoon with a club-record 11 doubles, three from Alvarez (4-for-6, six RBIs). Springer added four RBIs.

—Field Level Media

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