Astros Lance McCullers shines striking out 10 Yankee hitters in Astros 4-1 win

Lance McCullers outdueled Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, Colby Rasmus snapped an 0-29 streak with a big two-run home run, and the Houston Astros beat New York 4-1 to avoid a series sweep on Wednesday night.
Photo Credit: George Bridges | AP
The Astros got hits from seven different players, and although they produced a respectable four runs, it was the excellent pitching of McCullers that propelled them to victory. McCullers pitched six strong innings, baffling Yankee hitters with his killer knuckle curve and striking out 10 while allowing only one run on five hits.  Tanaka, on the other hand, pitched a shaky five innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and walking two.

The Astros struck first, getting on the board in the second inning with an RBI single from Carlos Gomez (who would leave the game moments later with a strained right hamstring). In the third inning, a wild pitch by Tanaka moved Marwin Gonzalez to third, and Carlos Correa brought him in with a single through the left side of a shifted-in infield. The next batter was Rasmus, who mashed a 2-1 offering from Tanaka into the seats in right field, scoring Correa and giving Houston a 4-0 lead.

The Yankees answered immediately on Brian McCann’s leadoff home run in the fourth, but were unable to do much else offensively. The Astros’ pitchers seemed to have the Yankee hitters’ numbers all night; Yankee batters struck out fifteen times in the game. Overall, the Yanks stranded six baserunners and went 0-3 with runners in scoring position. Situational hitting was one of the Bombers’ biggest struggles in the first half of the season, and if this game is any indication, it is still a weakness of theirs. The Astros, on the other hand, were able to capitalize on some good opportunities, going 2-6 with runners in scoring position.

Two Yankee pitchers made their first bullpen appearances of the season. Adam Warren, who was part of the package the Yankees received in return for Aroldis Chapman, made his first appearance in pinstripes on the year. He pitched a scoreless sixth, getting some help from Brian McCann, who threw out Jake Marisnick on an attempted steal of third.

Luis Severino pitched a hitless seventh and eighth innings, striking out three in his first big league appearance since May 13th. Severino, who began the season in the starting rotation, was recently called up from Triple-A and had never previously made an appearance out of the bullpen. Despite this, he looked more like the pitcher he was last year than the pitcher who came into the game with a 7.46 ERA. With trade rumors circulating about several of the Yankees’ current starting pitchers, there may be some pressure on Severino to work himself back into the rotation if one of these pitchers is traded, and his performance is a silver lining for the Yanks.

Will Harris, who made his first All-Star appearance in San Diego, closed out the game for the Astros with a perfect ninth inning, earning his eleventh save of the year.

Win: Lance McCullers (6-4, 3.18 ERA): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K
Loss: Masahiro Tanaka (7-3, 3.16 ERA): 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 4 K
Save: Will Harris (11)

Notables:
Brian McCann: 1-4, HR (15)
Didi Gregorius: 2-4
Adam Warren: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Luis Severino: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Jose Altuve: 2-4
Colby Rasmus: 1-4, HR (12), 2 RBI

Next Up:
The Yankees have a day off tomorrow before starting a three-game series against the Rays in Tampa on Friday. Ivan Nova (7-5, 4.65 ERA) will face off against Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.10 ERA) in the series opener on Friday.

The Astros have Thursday off, then head to Detroit for a three-game series against the Tigers. In Friday’s series opener, Collin McHugh (7-6, 4.18 ERA) will start against Detroit’s Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.63 ERA).

Article by: Peter Marshall
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