Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. baffles Mariners in Houston victory
Tue., April 17, 2018
SEATTLE – Lance McCullers Jr. matched his career high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings of one-hit ball, Brian McCann hit a tiebreaking two-run home run and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Tuesday night.
McCullers was outstanding in a bounce-back effort after allowing a career-high eight earned runs in his last start against Minnesota. His only mistake was a 0-2 curveball that Robinson Cano hit for a solo homer in the first inning. Otherwise, the Mariners were left guessing at McCullers’ mix of breaking pitches and a good fastball. McCullers also had 11 strikeouts in a 2015 game against Baltimore.
McCullers (2-1) retired 12 straight following Cano’s homer before walking Daniel Vogelbach with two outs in the fifth inning. That was his only blip. McCullers retired the final seven he faced, including strikeouts of Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager to end the seventh. He left after throwing 102 pitches.
Will Harris pitched the eighth and Chris Devenski worked the ninth for his second save.
McCann’s home run in the sixth snapped a 1-all tie and was his first of the season. Reliever Dan Altavilla (1-2) struggled to get into a rhythm taking over in the sixth, walking Evan Gattis to start the inning then leaving a 97 mph fastball in the middle of the plate for McCann.
Seattle starter Ariel Miranda was called up from Triple-A Tacoma to make the start and pitched well, holding the Astros to one run in five innings, but skirted trouble throughout his first outing of the season.
The only run Miranda allowed was because of defensive mistakes and likely would not have scored if first baseman Vogelbach threw home after fielding Josh Reddick’s ground ball instead of attempting to start a double play.
Houston left the bases loaded twice against Miranda, the most egregious coming in the second, when Jake Marisnick struck out looking and George Springer went down swinging to end the threat. Miranda ended his night getting Reddick to fly out to center field with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning.
Mariners: OF Ben Gamel (oblique) is expected to rejoin the Mariners in the next couple of days – likely before the homestand with Houston ends – after being on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. … C Mike Zunino (oblique) was expected to be the designated hitter for Class A Modesto on Tuesday and will play at least one more game in the minors before the Mariners consider bringing him of the disabled list.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (1-0) tries to replicate his last start where he struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings. Cole has recorded at least 11 strikeouts in each of his three starts.
Mariners: Mike Leake (2-0) looks to remain perfect on the season after getting a no decision in his last start despite allowing three runs in six innings against Oakland.
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