EditorsNote: Corrects to Duffy walking two batters in graf 8; other minor edits
Gerrit Cole showed why he is one of the front-runners for the American League Cy Young Award by pitching eight solid innings as the Houston Astros defeated the host Kansas City Royals 4-1 Friday night.
George Springer’s three-run home run in the ninth inning broke a 1-1 tie.
Cole (17-5) allowed one unearned run on four hits in eight innings, with two walks and 11 strikeouts. It was the 18th time he’s reached double figures in strikeouts this year, and he leads the major leagues with 292 K’s.
The 11 strikeouts were the fewest in his past four starts
Cole remains undefeated since May, winning his past 13 decisions. In that stretch, he’s carried a 1.85 ERA, bringing his season mark from 4.11 to the current 2.62.
Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his 33rd save in 39 chances.
Kansas City reliever Heath Fillmyer (0-2) gave up all three runs while getting only two outs in the ninth inning to take the loss.
Royals starter Danny Duffy allowed only a Jose Altuve solo home run over six innings. He gave up four hits and two walks while striking out six. He used 54 pitches in the first two innings, which was the primary reason he didn’t reach the late innings.
The Astros got on the board with one out in the first when Altuve launched his 28th home run, a 428-foot blast to left field. Duffy was able to work around additional trouble in the first three innings before retiring seven straight, including four straight on strikeouts.
Cole labored during the first few innings. He allowed leadoff doubles in the first and third innings and a one-out walk in the fourth, but none of the runners scored.
Kansas City tied the game in the eighth. Bubba Starling hit a leadoff single, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Meibrys Viloria’s sacrifice fly to center scored Starling.
In the Houston ninth, Kyle Tucker singled with one out, and pinch hitter Michael Brantley walked. After Josh Reddick struck out, Springer bashed his 35th homer of the season to left-center.
—Field Level Media