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Astros talking to the Pirates about Gerrit Cole

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Earlier this offseason the Yankees were said to be pushing to acquire Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. Those rumors cooled, but the Yankees are still reportedly interested. Their interest is now being matched, Jeff Passan of Yahoo says, by the defending champ Houston Astros.

Passan reports that Houston is dangling outfielder Derek Fisherin the talks, although he says the Pirates would want more, which makes sense. The Yankees, of course, have a loaded farm system themselves, so the Pirates are in a decent position to have two of the best teams in baseball bidding against one another.

Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 196/55 in 203 innings across 33 starts for the Pirates in 2017. He is only two seasons removed from a 19-8, 2.60 campaign in 2015, and he’s still just 27, so adding him would go a long way toward strengthening either club’s rotation. For Houston, it would give them an outstanding 1-2-3-4 punch with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Keuchel, of course, becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, so Cole could help cushion the blow of him leaving, assuming he leaves.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.