05/20 23:27 CDT McCullers, McCann lead Astros to 3-1 win over Indians
McCullers, McCann lead Astros to 3-1 win over Indians
HOUSTON (AP) --- Lance McCullers finally found his curveball --- and the
results were devastating for the Cleveland Indians.
McCullers allowed one hit over seven innings and Brian McCann hit a two-run
homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-1 win Sunday night.
McCullers (6-2) took a perfect game into the sixth inning, retiring the first
15 batters he faced with six strikeouts, two ground balls and seven fly balls.
One of the flyouts came in the first inning when Astros left fielder Tony Kemp
chased down a ball near the foul line and made a leaping grab at the wall.
Jason Kipnis led off the sixth inning with a line-drive single to right center
on a 2-2 count, but the Indians were unable to get much else going against
McCullers. He had previously struggled with the location of his curve and has
been forced to lean heavily on his fastball and changeup. Everything fell into
place against the Indians.
"I had the curveball working," McCullers said. "In the second inning, I had a
couple of strikeouts on it, which was good to see. I haven't really been able
to put it where I wanted to with two strikes, but tonight, I didn't really miss
too often with it. Hopefully, it continues to be good for me going forward."
McCullers walked two and struck out eight on 96 pitches, completing seven
innings for the fourth time in his last seven starts. He has allowed two hits
or fewer in three of those starts during this stretch.
"He got outs on all of his pitches, he kept them off-balance, pounded the zone
and he's got some of the best stuff in baseball," McCann said. "When he's
filling up the strike zone, he's tough to hit."
Ken Giles earned his eighth save of the season.
With the game still scoreless in the seventh inning, McCann sent the ball over
the Astros' bullpen in right-center field off an 87 mph changeup from Indians
starter Carlos Carrasco (5-3). The homer brought home Yuli Gurriel, who had led
off the inning with a single.
The defending champion Astros had recently struggled against Cleveland,
entering Sunday as losers of six of their previous seven meetings.
Carrasco matched McCullers' seven innings, but allowed six hits and two runs
while striking out six and walking one.
"I thought he was terrific, my goodness," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
"Left a changeup just up enough and McCann took a really good swing. Other than
that, he pitched his way out of a couple of jams but when we're not scoring
like that it makes it even harder."
Josh Reddick pushed Houston's lead to 3-0 with a ground-rule double to center
off Tyler Olson that scored Alex Bregman. Reddick returned from a two-game
absence with a leg infection.
The Indians scored their only run on a fielder's choice grounder by Edwin
Encarnacion that scored Michael Brantley, who led off the inning with a double.
Cleveland outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus on
Sunday, played right field and batted sixth. Cabrera went 0 for 3 in his
Indians debut, including lining out to right field to strand two runners in the
Cleveland fell to 22-23 and has spent much of the young season lingering around
the .500 mark.
"When this team can get over that hump, we still know we're one of the best
teams in the American League," Kipnis said. "We're still a contender with a
very big run in us. I think we have started the last couple of years around
this same record early on. You know how we do since (Francona's) been here, our
second-half records are usually one of the best in the league. I think that's
where we pick up our steam and hit our strides."
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (back tightness) threw a bullpen session and
received treatment before Sunday's game and said he felt fine. Miller, who
recently returned from a three-week absence with a hamstring strain, was
unavailable to pitch on Saturday because of the lingering back discomfort.
Francona said after the game Miller would have been available if the Indians
had tied the game or taken the lead late.
Astros: OF Derek Fisher has been sent to the 10-day disabled list with
gastrointestinal discomfort that has limited his food intake and caused
noticeable weight loss in recent days, manager A.J. Hinch said. Fisher played
with discomfort on Friday against Cleveland and will see a specialist Monday.
To replace Fisher, the Astros recalled IF J.D. Davis, who leads Triple-A with a
.415 batting average at Fresno.
The Astros have allowed just 123 runs in 48 games this season. The only other
pitching staff in the live-ball era (since 1920) to post a run total this low
through the first 48 games of a season was the 1968 Cleveland Indians (112
Indians: Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.59 ERA) will open a two-game set at Wrigley Field
on Tuesday hoping to build on his last start, where he tossed eight shutout
innings, allowing four hits and striking out 10 on May 16 at Detroit.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75 ERA) will face the Giants in the first half of a
two-game series in Houston on Tuesday. Cole leads the AL in strikeouts with 93
in 61 2/3 innings and ranks second in both opponent batting average (.166) and
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