HOUSTON (AP) – Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole has won a franchise-record 17 straight decisions heading into the deciding Game 5 of their AL Division Series against visiting Tampa Bay. The winner meets the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series starting Saturday.
Cole is 17-0 in 23 starts since a May 22 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He has allowed 92 hits over 154 1/3 innings during that span, striking out 241 and walking 32. That includes an outstanding outing in a 3-1 Game 2 win over the Rays, when he struck out 15, didn’t walk a batter until his final one, and allowed four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
Tyler Glasnow starts for the Rays after taking a 6-2 loss in the opener, when he gave up two runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings, including José Altuve’s go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth.
Both starters came up with the Pirates organization and were teammates in Pittsburgh from 2016-17.
Cole was the top pick in the 2011 amateur draft and was traded to Houston in January 2018 for right-handers Michael Feliz and Joe Musgrove, outfielder Jason Martin and infielder Colin Moran.
Glasnow was a fifth-round selection in that same draft, and was dealt to the Rays on July 31 last year along with outfielder Austin Meadows and a player to be named (right-hander Shane Baz) for right-hander Chris Archer, who went 3-9 for Pittsburgh this year.
Tampa Bay Rays (96-66, second in the AL East) vs. Houston Astros (107-55, first in the AL West)
Houston; Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Rays: Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 4.15 ERA) Astros: Gerrit Cole (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
LINE: Astros -271; over/under is 7 runs
ALDS: Series tied 2-2
BOTTOM LINE: Houston will host Tampa Bay in the final game of the ALDS Thursday.
The Astros are 60-21 on their home turf. Houston has slugged .495, good for first in the majors. Alex Bregman leads the team with a .592 slugging percentage, including 80 extra-base hits and 41 home runs.
The Rays are 48-33 on the road. The Tampa Bay pitching staff owns a team ERA of 3.69, Charlie Morton paces the staff with a mark of 3.05.
TOP PERFORMERS: Bregman leads the Astros with 41 home runs and has 112 RBIs. George Springer is 8-for-29 with a double, four home runs and six RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.
Austin Meadows leads the Rays with 33 home runs home runs and is slugging .558. Tommy Pham has 10 hits and is batting .263 over the last 10 games for Tampa Bay.
Astros Injuries: Aaron Sanchez: (pectoral), Lance McCullers Jr.: (elbow).
Rays Injuries: Hoby Milner: (back/neck), Jose Alvarado: (elbow), Yandy Diaz: (left foot).
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