Pinch runner Derek Fisher scored on a two-base fielding error in the eighth inning, and the Houston Astros eked out a 3-2 win over the visiting Texas Rangers on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
Marwin Gonzalez stroked a one-out single off Rangers reliever Kevin Jepsen (0-2) and, with Fisher running on the play, Texas center fielder Drew Robinson whiffed fielding the ball, allowing Fisher to score from first base. Fisher pinch-ran for Evan Gattis, who walked.
Astros right fielder George Springer homered twice against Rangers starter Cole Hamels, upping his season total to three. All three homers have come against Hamels and to the opposite field.
Joey Gallo and Robinson Chirinos clubbed solo home runs for the Rangers (4-11), their fourth and first, respectively. Chris Devenski earned his first save while Joe Smith (1-0) recorded one out in the eighth inning for the Astros (10-4), who snapped a two-game skid.
Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole was masterful before a pair of mistake pitches in the seventh inning cost him the lead and an opportunity at a second victory in three overpowering starts.
Cole retired the first eight batters he faced and, after Rangers second baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa recorded his first career hit with a two-out infield single in the third, Cole responded by retiring the ensuing five batters. When he encountered trouble in the fifth inning, he escaped.
A sudden bout of wildness — a walk, a hit batsman and a wild pitch — left Cole facing two runners in scoring position with one out. Cole rallied to strike out Robinson and Kiner-Falefa, but he wasn’t so elusive two innings later when Gallo and Chirinos jumped on the first pitches of their respective at-bats for solo home runs, with Chirinos pulling Texas even at 2-2.
Cole closed his outing having allowed two runs on three hits with a career-high 14 strikeouts over seven innings. He became the first Astros pitcher with 14 strikeouts since Bud Norris on Aug. 14, 2010 against the Pirates and just the second pitcher in major league history with 11-plus strikeouts in each of his first three starts of a season. Nolan Ryan did so for the California Angels in 1973.
—Field Level Media