HOUSTON (AP) — Gerrit Cole’s only major miscue against San Francisco came on a pitch to Brandon Crawford that will give his brother-in-law some bragging rights at family gatherings for years to come.
Cole struck out eight over six innings to lead the Houston Astros to an 11-2 victory over the Giants on Tuesday.
Both runs off Cole (5-1) scored on a fifth-inning home run by Crawford, whose sister Amy is married to Cole.
Cole said he probably was due for one after Starling Marte robbed Crawford of a homer against him in the deepest part of the ballpark in Pittsburgh when he played for the Pirates.
“He was already kind of in the red there, minus-1,” Cole said. “So it was fitting that he took a good pitch, put a good swing on it and got the home run. So obviously not thrilled about it, but I’m not terribly disappointed either.”
Crawford entered 4 for 18 off the right-hander. He singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games, then got his first extra-base hit against his in-law with the home run that cut the lead to 5-2.
“The single, I kind of looked over at him just to see if he’d smile and think that bloop single was funny at all. He didn’t,” Crawford said. “The homer, I didn’t look at him at all.”
The shortstop doesn’t plan to bring it up with Cole when the families meet up in the offseason.
“We’ll talk about baseball plenty, but we don’t really talk about our at-bats,” Crawford said.
Cole recalled that Crawford signed a bat he broke on a single off him in his debut in 2013 and sent it over. So after Tuesday’s game Cole returned the favor with a gift that was a nod to Giants broadcasters Duane Kuiper and Jon Miller.
“I signed the pair of cleats that I pitched in tonight and I wrote Kuiper’s Call, ‘Outta Here’ on the one and then Jonny Miller’s ‘Adios Pelota’ on the other and I sent it over,” Cole said. “Try to have a little fun.”
The rest of the game was all Astros, with Tony Kemp leading the way with two hits and a career-high five RBIs in the first meeting between these teams since 2015. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve added two RBIs apiece as Houston won for the fifth time in six games.
“We score double digits and don’t hit a home run, I think we’ll take that every night,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It was a really good night of offense by a lot of different people in the lineup.”
Cole improved to 3-0 in his last five starts, allowing two hits to Giants who aren’t part of his family and walking three. He leads the American League with 101 strikeouts.
Houston jumped on left-hander Andrew Suarez (1-4), who was making his sixth major league start, for five runs and seven hits in four innings. Evan Gattis and Max Stassi hit consecutive doubles to start Houston’s third and make it 1-0. Stassi scored on a single by George Springer and Bregman followed with a double for a 3-0 lead.
Kemp hit a two-run single in the fourth.
Houston tacked on four runs in the sixth inning, with two coming on a single by Altuve, and added two more in the seventh on a single by Kemp, who was called up Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday.