Astros defeat the Rangers 3-2 to reach 100-wins for third straight year
Brian Barefield | 9/20/2019, 10:53 a.m.
It is not often a baseball fan gets to witness the team they cheer for get 100 wins in a season. On tonight, 38,417 fans did. The Astros (100-53) defeated the Texas Rangers (74-79) 3-2 behind a strong pitching performance from the Major League leader in strikeouts, Gerrit Cole (18-5). He also became the fastest pitcher in Astros history to reach 300 strikeouts in a season. The last pitchers to reach such an accomplishment were Mike Scott in 1986 (306) and J.R. Richards, who did it twice in 1978 (307) and 1979 (313).
“He is incredible,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after the game about Cole. “I think he is a special player and person. It was a big night for him and a big accomplishment for him. Our entire team was excited for him.”
For the third straight year, the Houston Astros have eclipsed the 100-win mark making them the sixth team in MLB history to complete such a feat with the last being the 2002-04 New York Yankees.
With nine games left in the 2019 Major League Baseball season, the Houston Astros look prime and ready to head into the playoffs as one of the perennial favorites to win it all. Houston currently sits atop of the American League West with a 100-53, which is a franchise record after 153 games and have an 8-game lead over the second place Oakland A’s.
Houston lost at least 100 games in three straight seasons from 2011-13, so it feels good for the team to be on the opposite end of that.
“Winning 100 games for three straight years is a lot,” said Hinch. “I love it for this team and this organization. I want to take a minute to congratulate our team.”
The Astros are also in a battle for the best record in the AL with the New York Yankees and the overall best record in Major League Baseball with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. That makes every game important down the stretch, as the home field is crucial when it comes to playoff baseball.
Houston finally got to Texas pitcher Kolby Allard (4-1) in the bottom of the fifth inning. After leaving eight men on base through four innings, DH Yordan Alvarez singled to left and 1B Yuli Gurriel hit his 30th homerun on a 1-0 pitch from Allard. With that homer, Gurriel became the fifth Cuban born player to reach 40 doubles, 30 HR and 100 RBI in a season.
Texas would bounce back in the top of the seventh inning to cut the lead to one after a throwing error by Astros catcher Martin Maldonado allowed Willie Calhoun to score. Houston would gain the run right back in the bottom of the inning when second baseman Jose Altuve hit his 29th homerun of the season to push the lead back to 3-2.
“I don’t want to say I was frustrated because I knew we were in the process of getting better,” said Astros second baseman Jose Altuve on being on the 2013 team. “I thank God for being a part of this team and winning all these games.”
Cole, who also won his 14th game in a row, would surrender a homerun to Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman to bring the lead back down to one before he got out of the inning with a strikeout (Andrus) and a line drive by Calhoun to OF Kyle Tucker. Cole has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in seven straight starts, which ties a franchise record set earlier this season by his teammate Justin Verlander.
Right hand reliever Roberto Osuna came into the game in the ninth inning and collected his 35th save of the season. He now ranks second in the American League in saves.
“I can’t really put it into words,” Cole said to the media after the game. “I remember having a conversation with Justin (Verlander) and Dallas (Keuchel) in spring training when I first arrived to the team two years ago. I was like; I want to learn to strikeout a couple of more guys a game. We sat down for a couple of hours on the field or at dinner and here we are at 300 strikeouts in a season and it’s a reflection of the staff.”