A Houston Astros lineup depleted by injuries and bereavement took advantage of a rookie waiver claim to win their 11th straight game Wednesday, 4-2 over the New York Yankees in a game delayed by rain for 1 hour, 48 minutes in the top of the ninth inning.
But the biggest surprise may have been that it came from the pitcher of record, winner Gerrit Cole, who was starting his first game since 10 June.
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Cole, who arrived before the game on waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, went seven innings, allowing only one run and two hits, walked one, struck out five and threw 104 pitches, seven fewer than starter Dallas Keuchel.
Carlos Correa, who led off the game with a homer, had two hits, including a double, and Jose Altuve drove in two runs. The win put the Astros (88-51) 9½ games ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West with 16 games to play.
Brian McCann walked with the bases loaded to give the Yankees (85-51) their first run against Cole, who entered with a 16-5 career record. Hunter Renfroe tied the game in the sixth, driving in Correa with a grounder to second base, and Correa made it 4-1 in the eighth with a two-out RBI single.
Reliever Tyler Clippard (5-4) pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh inning but was charged with the loss. New York relievers used six total.
Judge, who had been hitless in six at-bats with a pair of strikeouts in his previous three games, singled off Hector Rondon in the eighth for the Yankees’ only other hit. A long rain delay of 1 hour, 48 minutes after the third inning brought a familiar scene at Yankee Stadium, where TV graphics showing the amount of rain showers in past years were displayed in left field.
Scott Kazmir (7-4) was credited with the win. Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Zack Cozart singled with one out in the second and scored when Altuve doubled to right-center. Altuve stole third base and scored when Jorge Alfaro’s throw was wild.
The Rangers won for the 11th time in 13 games against the Yankees, who have lost seven of nine against them since the All-Star break.
Astros: CF George Springer (2B) left the game with a sore thumb after he made a diving catch in foul territory in the fifth inning.
Yankees: SS Didi Gregorius was out of the lineup for the third straight game due to inflammation in his left wrist. “It’s day to day,” Gregorius said.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.71 ERA) is coming off a win over San Francisco on Friday when he threw seven shutout innings, struck out 12 and did not walk a batter.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-8, 4.83) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings on Monday, the shortest of his 21 starts for New York.