Houston (SPORTSRADIO 610) - Gerrit Cole continued his dominant stretch of starts that dates back months into the regular season with a historic 15-strikeout performance Saturday night in the Houston Astros' 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The right-hander tossed 118 pitches over 7.2 shutout innings, allowing just four hits, one walk and induced 33 swings and misses as Houston took a 2-0 series lead in the American League Division Series.
Cole's performance was one of the best in MLB postseason history. His 15 strikeouts were the most in a postseason game since 2000 and placed him third all-time in a single postseason game, falling just two strikeouts short of tying the record set by St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson in 1968.
Cole also set the Astros' franchise mark, topping Mike Scott's 14-strikeout performance in the 1986 NLCS against the New York Mets.
The Astros' right-hander has established himself as a big-game pitcher over his two seasons in Houston, which should make his impending free agency interesting.
Last year, he struck out 12 in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians and now joins Gibson, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver — all Hall of Famers — as the only pitchers in MLB history with multiple games of at least 12 strikeouts in the postseason.
Closer Roberto Osuna relieved Cole in the eighth inning with two runners on base and ended the threat by striking out Yandy Diaz. Osuna put Cole's dominance in jeopardy in the ninth, though, allowing a run to score after starting the inning with two singles and a walk to load the bases. Will Harris was called upon and ended the game.
Alex Bregman teed off for his first home run of the postseason, a solo blast in the fourth inning. The lineup pushed another run across in the seventh on a Martin Maldonado RBI single, and another in the eighth thanks to a Carlos Correa RBI single.
Yordan Alvarez, Bregman, Maldonado and Correa each had two hits on the night. In all, the Astros had 10 base-knocks and left eight men on base. They were also just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Zack Greinke is set to square off against former Astros starter and World Series hero Charlie Morton on Monday. First pitch is 12:05 p.m. CT.