Cole strikes out 15 as Astros top Rays for 2-0 ALDS lead

Oct. 6 (UPI) — Gerrit Cole struck out 15 batters in 7 2/3 innings, leading the hometown Houston Astros to a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park.

The victory gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series, which resumes Monday afternoon in Tampa Bay, Fla.

“I’m just happy we got the win,” Cole told reporters after the game. “It was tight there at the end. I was just pleased with he we were going about our game plan. … We put ourselves in a good position to go deep. We put ourselves in a good position to work out of a couple of jams.”

Major League Baseball records show that Cole became the seventh pitcher to strike out as many as 15 batters in the playoffs. He was the first since Roger Clemens did it in Game 4 of the 2000 American League Championship Series.

In doing so, he set a Houston postseason record and gave the Astros a good shot at advancing to the American League Championship Series for the third consecutive year.

Roberto Osuno relieved Cole two outs in the eighth, ending the inning with two runners on base.

The bases were loaded with no outs on back-to-back base hits then a walk. Osuna allowed a run on a groundout and loaded the bases again on his second walk of the inning. Astros manager A.J. Hinch sent in Will Harris, who ended the game by striking out Travis d’Arnaud and getting Kevin Kiermaier to ground out.

Alex Bregman‘s full-count home run to left off Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. In the seventh, the Astros added an insurance run when Matin Maldonado singled home Yuli Gurriell.

In the eighth, Carlos Correa drove in Bregman with a single to right.

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