Tampa-born Lance McCullers made sure his friends wouldn't forget him. The former All-Star tossed seven shutout innings Thursday in St. Petersburg as Houston blanked the Rays, 1-0 for their 11th straight road win. Seattle also won so the margin in the AL West race remained at 3-1/2 games.
McCullers: Catches some Rays
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McCullers allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven. Chris Devenski survived a shaky eighth then Hector Rondon struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save.
The Rays pitchers allowed eight hits but the only one that stung was a solo homer by Jake Marisnick in the fifth, snapping a Tampa string of 26 consecutive scoreless innings. Marisnick and Tyler White were the only Astros with multi-hit games.
Off the field, the news is a bit more active. Shortstop Carlos Correa, it was announced, will be put on the 10-day disabled list Friday to allow his sore back time to heal properly without the temptation of putting him in a game. No word yet on who will be promoted from AAA in the interim.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel is on the three-day paternity list as his wife prepares for delivery. A.J. Reed, once one of the top prospects in the farm system, will return to take his place. At AAA Fresno, Reed has hit .266 with 67 RBIs and a .915 OPS over 73 games. Reed has batted just .156 in past big league call-ups.
Gerrit Cole (9-1) will take the mound for Houston in Friday's contest at the Trop. Wilmer "Bold Face" Font (1-1) will get the nod for the Rays in a 6:10 pm Central battle. The Astros will have a chance for a 20-win month and a .667 winning percentage with a victory.
- Bob Hulsey