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Unsharp Gerrit Cole tosses seven shutout innings in ALCS Game 3

2019 ALCS Game 3 - Houston Astros v. New York Yankees

BRONX, NY - OCTOBER 15: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 3 of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

MLB Photos via Getty Images

Gerrit Cole didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday in Game 3 of the ALCS, but he still managed to fire seven shutout innings against the Yankees. The right-hander allowed four hits and five walks while striking out seven on 112 pitches.

Cole found himself in immediate trouble as the Yankees hit back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the first inning after falling behind 1-0. Cole, however, got two quick outs. After walking Gleyber Torres to load the bases, Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the frame.

Wasting opportunities would be a theme for the Yankees throughout the game, as Cole allowed two more base runners in the second inning and neither scored. Two two-out walks were spoiled in the fourth. A two-out double by Edwin Encarnación and a subsequent walk by Torres were wasted in the fifth. Cole put up 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh before hitting the showers.

In his previous two playoff starts, Cole allowed four hits and a walk with 15 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings (ALDS Game 2), and two hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts across eight innings (ALDS Game 5). He hadn’t walked more than two batters in a start since July 27 in St. Louis. Cole hadn’t recorded single-digit strikeouts in a start since striking out four against the Indians on August 1.

The Astros are up 4-0 in the eighth inning, looking poised to take a two games to one series lead over the Yankees.

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