HOUSTON (AP) — Gerrit Cole carried his splendid September into an outstanding October and Alex Bregman handed fans chanting MVP the mighty swing they craved and the Houston Astros survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.
Cole, 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in six starts last month, set an Astros postseason record with 15 strikeouts in 7 2/3 scoreless innings to win his franchise-record 17th straight decision. The 15 strikeouts tied for third-most in a postseason game, the highest total since Roger Clemens had 15 in the 2000 AL Championship Series for the New York Yankees against Seattle.
Cole (1-0), who led the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season, extended his major league record with his 10th straight game with at least 10 Ks. The Rays were unable to string anything together off of him on a night he induced 33 swings and misses — the most since MLB started tracking the stat in 2008 — and threw a career-high 118 pitches.