PHOENIX — Gerrit Cole called his gem Friday night "probably my best" of his 134 career major league starts.
The best of a lot of very good ones lately.
Cole struck out a career-high 16 in a one-hitter and the Houston Astros routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-0 Friday night.
"I think it would have been the same outcome if any team in the league would have faced him today," Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said. "He was just filthy. Hitting the spots, every pitch was working. There is no plan that could work against him today."
Cole (3-1) topped the strikeout mark of 14 he set three weeks ago against Texas and allowed only a one-out double to Chris Owings in the fifth inning of his second career complete game.
"He had things moving in a real good direction," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "We punched out 16 times, he finished the game and the last two pitches were 99 miles an hour. Everything was working."
The only other baserunner against the dominant right-hander was David Peralta, who walked to lead off the fourth.
"Certainly this year we've had a ton of consecutive really good pitching performances," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "Nothing to top that at this point. It's hard to describe. It's an incredible display of pitching."
Cole, acquired by the World Series champions in an offseason trade with Pittsburgh, leads the majors with 77 strikeouts in seven starts, reaching double-digits in punchouts five times.
"I'm in such a good spot physically, like the best I've been in my career," he said. "My direction to the plate, my core, I'm just able to repeat at such a high level."
Yuli Gurriel had four hits and drove in three runs for Houston. Carlos Correa doubled twice and drove in three for Houston. George Springer had three singles and scored three times, and Jose Altuve doubled twice and scored three.
Springer, Altuve, Correa and Gurriel — the top four batters in the Houston lineup — were a combined 11 of 19.
Arizona lost its third straight. The Diamondbacks hadn't lost two in a row all season before dropping games against the Dodgers on Saturday and Sunday.
The Astros, coming off three straight losses at home in a four-game series with the New York Yankees, pounded Kris Medlen (0-1) for seven runs on nine hits in four innings. Medlen, called up from Triple-A Reno to start for the injured Robbie Ray, has undergone two Tommy John surgeries and was making his first big league appearance in two years.
Houston jumped on Medlen from the first pitch, when Springer singled. Springer took second on a wild pitch and scored on Altuve's double. Gurriel brought Altuve home with a single and it was 2-0.
The Astros added two more in the second and three in the fourth.
Cole, meanwhile, breezed along, striking out nine of 10 batters in the second, third and fourth innings, with only Peralta's walk on a 3-2 pitch breaking up the streak of Ks.
Reddick's diving grab in right field retired Daniel Descalso for the first out of the fifth but Owings doubled to left to give Arizona its lone hit.
"That was probably the worst slider that I threw," Cole said. "He did a good job. The pitch got down. I just didn't think it had enough bite and he put a really good swing on it."
Descalso pitched for the final two outs in the ninth.
Cole was jokingly given two of the Astros' ceremonial "king" robes by his teammates, for hitting and pitching. He struck out five times.
The Diamondbacks announced after the game that they had signed right-hander Clay Buchholz to a minor league contract. Buchholz was released from his minor league contract by Kansas City on Tuesday.
Diamondbacks: 3B Jake Lamb (sprained left AC joint) will be shut down for a few days after inflammation in his injured right shoulder led to a cortisone injection on Thursday. There's still no timetable for Lamb's return.
Diamondbacks fans finally got something to cheer about in the top of the fifth inning when right fielder Jarrod Dyson made a leaping grab to rob Jake Marisnick of a home run. Replays showed the glove high above the top of the fence when the catch was made.
The Astros send RH Charlie Morton (4-0, 1.72 ERA) to the mound and the Diamondbacks go with RH Zack Greinke (3-2, 4.50) Saturday night in the second game of the three-game series.