His only other appearance in Anaheim came with the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 21, 2013, the third game of his major league career. He allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-2 win, and would go on to become the first Pirates pitcher since 1907 to win his first four starts.
After five seasons with the Pirates, Cole was traded to the Astros this past offseason, and he has strung together another strong start with his new team.
He comes in second in the majors in earned run average behind teammate Justin Verlander, the scheduled starter for Wednesday’s series finale.
“He’s got the ability to stay competitive in the mid-90s and then reach back for the high 90s,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters after Cole allowed one run and four hits in six innings in a 4-1 win against the Oakland A’s on Wednesday. “There’s a single digit on your hand (for) how many guys can do that.”
Cole took his only loss of the season against the Angels on April 23, however, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings. He was outperformed by Los Angeles left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who threw seven shutout innings in the 2-0 victory.
In his toughest test so far, he blanked the Colorado Rockies for 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday, and the bullpen maintained the shutout in the 8-0 victory.His teammates are impressed by what they’ve seen so far.
“You don’t see a lot of young guys come up here and fill the zone up like he does,” Angels infielder Zack Cozart told Fox Sports West. “That’s the ultimate key in pitching is throwing a lot of strikes, and once you establish that, you can start working your way out of the zone.”
Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun is hitting just .158, but the former Gold Glove winner has remained stellar in the field. He reached into the stands to catch a fly ball in the ninth inning on Monday, then threw out George Springer trying to advance to second base.
“He’s such a gamer and he knows it’s important what he does in right field for us,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the game. “He’s going to help us any way he can. He’s working hard, almost too hard on the offensive end. Kind of taking baby steps, but that’s not going to affect what he does on defense.”
It was the second straight 2-1 victory for the Angels, who edged the Minnesota Twins on Sunday behind another rookie right-hander, Shohei Ohtani.
The Astros, meanwhile, have not allowed more than two runs in their past seven games and Cole should have plenty of incentive to keep that streak Justin Upton singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning for the Angels (25-16), who beat the defending World Series champions (26-17) for the third time in four meetings this season.
Luis Valbuena drove in an early run for the Angels in the opener of a three-game series between the Astros and their most significant early-season rival in the AL West. The Angels entered the week trailing the Astros by just one game after trailing Houston by eight games at the same point last season.
Heaney (2-2) led the way, limiting Houston to five baserunners over eight innings while outpitching Lance McCullers Jr., who took his first loss in seven starts since April 6.
“I think we want to establish that it’s not a (surprise) we just won that game,” Heaney said. “It’s (saying) we can beat those guys. We’re just as good, if not better than these guys.”
Houston native Justin Anderson allowed three baserunners in the ninth, but the Angels rookie still earned his first career save with help from Calhoun , whose profound struggles at the plate haven’t affected his superb defense.
After the right fielder caught Alex Bregman’s long fly in foul territory, he pivoted and threw out speedy George Springer, who tagged up and attempted to take second.
Calhoun’s throw and Andrelton Simmons’ clever tag on Springer completed a double play with Calhoun’s major league-leading sixth outfield assist.”That’s a hard throw to make, but he’s one of the best,” Springer said of Calhoun. “He made a great throw, and you move on to tomorrow.”Anderson then allowed Jose Altuve’s single and walked Carlos Correa in the ninth, but survived when Yuli Gurriel grounded out.
“That’s a big win for us, playing one of the hottest teams in baseball,” Anderson said. “Took a little longer, made it a little more interesting for everybody, but it was fun.”
McCullers (5-2) pitched six innings of four-hit ball while striking out six. But in the sixth, McCullers walked Martin Maldonado and Mike Trout before Upton’s two-out single to left.
The RBI was the 19th of the month for Upton, who came into the night leading the majors in RBIs in May.