At the beginning of the afternoon, the storyline was about Gerrit Cole vs. Trevor Bauer. Early on, it appeared Bauer would win the battle. Then in the later innings, Cole had the edge. In the end, none of it mattered. Houston tallied six runs in the eighth; Cleveland responded with five runs in the ninth. Both drilled solo homers in the 13th then, at long last, Greg Allen sent Brad Peacock's first pitch halfway up the right field seats to end the 10-9 donnybrook that split the four-game series.
Allen: Smacks game-winner
(c) Associated Press
In the process, Seattle pulled within one game of Houston in the AL West race. They're even in the loss column but two wins behind.
Houston skipper A.J. Hinch got the early exit in the sixth - his first ejection of the year. It seemed pointless when the Astros had their third eighth-inning explosion in four days.
Somebody looked at the tiring Astros bullpen and saw the one guy who was fully rested - closer Ken Giles - so it was decided to bring him in to guard the five-run lead in the ninth. Bad move. Giles has a thing about pitching in non-save situations the way Chuck Knoblauch once had a thing about throwing to first base.
Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion started with a double and single, respectively, off Giles. Then Yonder Alonso lined a base hit to center for the first Cleveland tally of the inning.
Will Harris took over for Giles and got the first out but then allowed back-to-back singles. Hector Rondon picked up for Harris. He too, retired the first batter then gave up back-to-back singles to tie the game.
Three scoreless frames passed and it appeared Houston would pull it out in the 13th when Evan Gattis homered to left off Dan Otero - his second jack of the day - but Collin McHugh was struck in the bottom half of the inning when Alonso's fly to right-center took off into the Wild Blue Yonder to even the score once again.
After the Astros wasted a Tony Kemp double in the 14th, Peacock came in for one pitch. Game over. Almost five hours of baseball before sunburned fans by Lake LeBron basically left the bullpen gassed for their next series with the Yankees.
Bauer allowed four runs on five hits in 7-1/3rd innings while fanning 13. Cole allowed three early runs on four hits in seven innings and struck out eight.
The game took so long that Jose Altuve was able to finish a streak of ten consecutive hits that broke his own club record *and* start a new batting slump in his last two at bats after going 4-for-4.
The Champs visit The Bronx for a three-game series beginning Memorial Day afternoon. Jason Verlander (6-2) will be tasked to go deep in the the game Monday for the 34-20 Astros. Domingo German (0-2) will be throwing a day late for Los 33-16 Yanquis. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 pm Central at the House That Jeter Built.
- Bob Hulsey