Lance McCullers allowed just one run and five hits over six innings while striking out 10 to lead the Astros to a 4-1 victory over the Yankees Wednesday night to salvage something from the three-game series. A solo homer by Brian McCann in the fourth was the lone tally for the Bombers.
McCullers: Curve was working
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The bullpen did their part as Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson and Will Harris tossed three hitless innings and punched out five more hitters to make 15 total. Harris earned his 11th save.
All of Houston's scoring happened before they'd registered nine outs. In the second, Preston Tucker and Alex Bregman walked against Masahiro Tanaka. Carlos Gomez singled home Tucker for the first run.
In the third, Marwin Gonzalez singled, moved to third then scored on a base hit by Carlos Correa through a drawn-in infield. Colby Rasmus, mired in an 0-for-29 slump, picked on a hanging curveball and hammered it into the right field seats for a 4-0 lead.
The Astros compiled just eight hits and Jose Altuve was the only player with a multi-hit game, slapping a pair of singles. Bregman is still hitless as an Astro.
Luis Valbuena took the night off after injuring his hamstring on Tuesday. Gomez now joins him with a strained hamstring he suffered sliding into second base in the second inning Wednesday night. Gomez does not expect to be out long. Valbuena is already a scratch for Friday. Houston may get a break since Doug Fister's wife is due to give birth to their first child and the Astros could call up more bench help while Fister takes paternity leave.
The game results were wonderful Wednesday as far as the standings were concerned. The Rangers lost so the Astros moved back within 2-1/2 games of first in the AL West. Meanwhile, Toronto and Boston also lost so Houston is now one game behind the Red Sox and 1-1/2 games back of the Blue Jays for the two wild card spots.
The Astros take a day off on Thursday before beginning a three-game weekend set in Detroit against the Tigers. Collin McHugh (7-6) is scheduled to start the opener against lefthander Matt Boyd (1-2) who is a distant relative of the great Bob Feller. Judging by Boyd's 2-8 career record, I'd say it's very distant. Game time is 6:10 Central at Comerica Park.
- Bob Hulsey