Cole stellar in return as Astros win

A day after failing to back a gem by ace Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros were determined to convert on another from Gerrit Cole.

Cole struck out 12 over seven scoreless innings, Bregman homered and the host Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 Thursday night. After the Tigers stunned Houston in a 2-1 win Wednesday despite Verlander’s two-hitter, the Astros gave Cole more than enough run support.

Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a fourth-inning double, and Bregman followed with a lined shot to the first row of the left field Crawford Boxes for his 31st homer.

“He set the tone,” Bregman said of Cole. “He came out dominant and was striking a lot of guys out so we knew we had to get him some runs, especially based on the fact that Verlander did the same thing yesterday, and we didn’t give him any run support.”

Cole (15-5) pitched two-hit ball and allowed one walk over 94 pitches. He’s 11-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his past 15 starts and has 238 strikeouts this season, one shy of teammate and league leader Verlander.

Cole returned for his first start since Aug. 7 after dealing with right hamstring discomfort. He showed no signs of rust, retiring 16 of his final 17 batters.

“There was no governor on him, he was letting it go and pitching very effectively,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “I was very impressed with how he approached the game from the very beginning. He was going to set a great tone for us after a tough loss. Comes out and punches out a bunch of guys and commands the game.”

Brantley finished with three hits, including a two-run single in the seventh. He leads the majors with a .338 batting average.

Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann (1-9) allowed three hits and two runs with four strikeouts in five innings.

Houston went up 3-0 in the sixth on Yordan Alvarez’s RBI-double. Yuli Gurriel also added an RBI single in the seventh to put the Astros up 6-0.

In the ninth, John Hicks hit a two-run homer — much less dramatic than his go-ahead solo shot off Verlander the night before — and Niko Goodrum added a solo homer off Joe Biagini.

Red Sox 5, Royals 4: Brock Holt hit an RBI single with one out in the 10th inning as host Boston won a weather-suspended game that began Aug. 7. That day’s game was halted after a 1 hour, 49 minute rain delay with the score tied 4-4 and nobody out in the top of the 10th inning.

Nationals 7, Pirates 1: Max Scherzer allowed one run in four innings in his return from the injured list as host Washington won. Scherzer allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was put on the IL on July 26 with a strain in his upper back.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: Ronald Acuña Jr. hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth to lift host Atlanta to its fifth straight win. Miami has lost 12 in a row on the road.

Cardinals 6, Rockies 5: Marcell Ozuna, Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler each hit two-run homers for host St. Louis.

White Sox 6, Rangers 1: Yoan Moncada lined a two-run homer his return from the IL and former A’s left-hander Ross Detwiler struck out a career-high eight for host Chicago.

Briefly: Astros reliever Ryan Pressly had arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined for at least four weeks. … The Angels announced that right-hander Griffin Canning won’t pitch again this season because of an elbow issue. … Rockies pitcher Jon Gray will undergo surgery on his broken left foot Friday, the team announced. … Catcher Francisco Cervelli, who’s recovering from a concussion, was granted his request and was released by the Pirates. He is expected to sign with the Braves, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported. … The Reds placed outfielder Jesse Winker (neck) on the IL and activated pitcher Tyler Mahle from the IL. … Major League Baseball is banning players from participating in the Venezuelan Winter League in one of the first public repercussions of new U.S. economic sanctions against the Venezuelan government.

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