Pirates sending No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole to Arizona Fall League

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No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole didn’t sign with Pittsburgh until just before the August 16 deadline and won’t make his official minor-league debut until next season, but the Pirates announced that the right-hander from UCLA will pitch in the Arizona Fall League next month.

General manager Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that the Pirates were pleased with Cole’s conditioning when he showed up to their instructional league and “always thought the best way for Gerrit to begin his development in our organization was to be challenged by the competition in Arizona.”

Typically the AFL features many more top-notch hitting prospects than pitching prospects because the environment is so hitter-friendly, so it’ll be interesting to see how the 21-year-old Cole fares after signing for $8 million.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.