*The Astros' 4.5-game division lead is a season-high.
*Gerrit Cole: 5IP, 2H/1ER, 8K:3BB. The one run he allowed came on a Lucas Duda home run. Cole needed 104 pitches to get through 20 batters, the first time in his career (I'm 95% sure of this) that Cole has had a start in which he threw five times as many pitches as he had batters faced. Houston is 14-2 when Cole starts a game. Cole:
You know ideally I'd like to get a little more length there, especially after the bullpen had to work last night. Some of that is out of my control a little bit. So, just kind of get back to the grind and get to the next one.
Cole called it "death by foul ball," which is also the name of my new hokey baseball detective novel, pre-order now.
*Ken Giles threw a clean inning - his sixth clean inning (0H/0BB) of the season. Is Giles' slider back? Eight of his 14 pitches were sliders and he got four swings and misses and two called strikes.
*The Astros got eleven runs on nine hits and seven walks despite a combined 0x10, 3K:3BB from Springer, Bregman, and Correa.
*Yuli Gurriel hit his first career grand slam in the 2nd, the 4th grand slam of the 2018 Astros' season. Gurriel was 3x5, his 4th 3+ hit game this season and his first at home. Gurriel has now hit a home run in back-to-back games for the first time since July 21-22, 2017. Gurriel:
My concentration level definitely is focused when there are runners on base, guys that want to score.
Gurriel is 26x56 this season w/RISP, and the .464 average leads the Majors. Gurriel's 26 hits w/RISP ranks 5th in MLB, Altuve's 25 hits rank 6th.
Sometimes you just need to switch things up. 🤷♀️🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/MYmHgV97BZ— Houston Astros (@astros) June 24, 2018
*Joe Smith threw his first bullpen session since going on the DL with elbow soreness.
*Jake Kaplan: The Astros face a flexibility issue when it comes to upgrading the bullpen.
*Luhnow apparently went on Astros Radio yesterday and said there's a decent chance Kyle Tucker makes it to Houston later this summer. Tucker hit a walkoff yesterday for Fresno.
*A record crowd of 10,431 came to Whataburger Field in Corpus for the ring giveaway. Randy Cesar went 2x4 to extend his hitting streak to 41 games but Forrest Whitley got lit up for 5H/7ER, 6K:3BB in 4.1IP as Frisco beat Corpus. Whitley had allowed 5H/0ER in his previous three starts combined.
*Evan Grant is reporting that West Shreveport is ready to listen to offers for Adrian Beltre, Keone Kela, and Jake Diekman.
*The Royals are apparently thinking about signing Luke Heimlich.
*The Angels started the season 13-3. They're 28-34 since. AL West standings since April 14:
*Hanley Ramirez: Not a Tony Montana!
*This 12-year old Indian boy is the 2nd-youngest chess grandmaster ever.
*From the Village Voice: How I broke, then botched, the story that became "Boys Don't Cry."