HOUSTON (AP) — Gerrit Cole was dominant — again.
Cole struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings and Derek Fisher scored the go-ahead run on Drew Robinson’s error in the eighth, sending the Houston Astros to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
“That was an incredible performance obviously,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “A shame that he didn’t get the win in that game based on how he pitched.”
Cole allowed two runs and three hits. The ace right-hander has 36 strikeouts in 21 innings in his first three starts with Houston after he was acquired in an offseason trade with Pittsburgh.
“I just kind of moved the fastball around a little bit, stayed aggressive and pound the zone as much as I could,” Cole said.
But Cole Hamels kept Texas in the game with six effective innings, limiting Houston to two more homers by George Springer.
Fisher came in to run for Evan Gattis after he walked with one out. Marwin Gonzalez followed with a single to center off Kevin Jepsen (0-2), and Fisher scored all the way from first after Robinson misplayed the ball.
“They will combat the stolen base a ton, but that’s not the only reason he’s put in the game,” Hinch said of Fisher. “An example like that where he can go first to home and the ball doesn’t even get to the wall.”
Texas manager Jeff Banister said it looked as if Robinson was trying to make an aggressive play to keep Fisher from scoring.
“Got underneath it a little bit, I don’t know if it was a bad hop, I’d have to go back and look at it,” Banister said. “Drew was putting a good effort on it. It got by him, run scored and I felt like we did a good job after that limiting it to one run.”
Joe Smith (1-0) got the final out of the eighth for the win and Chris Devenski finished for his first save.
Texas put two runners on with one out in the ninth, but Devenski struck out Robinson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to end the game.
Before Fisher’s dash around the bases, four solo homers accounted for the scoring.
Springer put Houston in front with his second leadoff homer of the season off Hamels, joining the one he got on opening day.
“Just be aggressive,” Springer said. “He’s a guy who he can settle in, go in, out, up, down with all four. That’s just an at-bat where I’m just trying to get something to hit and hit it.”
He led off the fifth with another drive. He has three homers this season — all coming against Hamels.
“I definitely have to at least make that first pitch, at least try to wait until at least a few innings into the game,” Hamels said. “I think that’s kind of been the habit where I really haven’t been able to give our team any sort of momentum because they’re scoring first off us, off me. That kind of makes it tough.”
Texas responded with two homers in the seventh. Joey Gallo hit a drive to deep center with one out, and Robinson Chirinos connected with two down.
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a fractured right elbow after being hit by a pitch Wednesday. Andrus won’t require surgery but will miss six to eight weeks. 1B Ronald Guzman was promoted from Triple-A Round Rock to take Andrus’ spot on the roster. … RHP Tim Lincecum (right middle finger) threw a bullpen session and will throw another bullpen on Sunday.
Astros: INF Yuli Gurriel (left hand) was activated off the 10-day disabled list. Gurriel was suspended for the first five games of the season and missed the last eight games while on the DL. He went 1 for 4. … LHP Tony Sipp (right oblique) played catch and could throw a bullpen this weekend, Hinch said.
Houston right-hander James Hoyt and Gurriel received their World Series championship rings in a pregame ceremony. Rangers catcher Juan Centeno, who appeared in 22 games for the Astros last season and was on the active roster for the postseason, also received a ring prior to the game.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (1-1) is scheduled to make his first road start for Texas on Saturday. Minor has allowed opponents to bat 5 for 35 against him with 12 strikeouts in his first two starts.
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (2-0) has allowed one unearned run in his first two starts. He has won six straight at home including the postseason.