Gerrit Cole had his worst outing of the year and the Houston Astros still comfortably won as they routed the Oakland A's 13-5 on Wednesday at the Coliseum in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Cole (8-1) allowed four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings of work on his way to victory as Houston picked up their seventh consecutive victory. Justin Verlander gets the call for the visitors in the finale on Thursday before the Astros, 10000/1 to win the World Series, head to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City to take on the Royals.
Despite the seven-game winning streak, the defending World Series champions still trail the Seattle Mariners by a half-game in the American League West Division standings as the M's secured their fourth in a row as well. Seattle completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels and now will welcome in the Boston Red Sox in what should be a fascinating match-up over the weekend.
The Mariners, Red Sox and Astros are joined by the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians as the five potential playoff teams in the American League and, with injures impacting the Angels, it's hard to see any other team getting into the mix, even with the majority of the season left to play.
As such the game between Boston and Seattle should have some extra spice as the two battle in a potential playoff preview this weekend and next when the Mariners are on the east coast to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
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