The Astros stopped their mini two-game losing streak with a solid outing from rookie Lance McCullers and some timely 2-out hitting. McCullers followed up his unspectacular, yet solid first outing by giving up only two runs in six innings of work. He allowed six hits but also struck out six, while only walking one (and it was intentional). His control was noticeably improved over his last start and the results showed it.
On offense the Astros scored first with Jose Altuve driving in Marwin Gonzalez with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. The Tigers scored once each in the third and fifth innings, with Anthony Gose driving in both runs. In the fifth they had a chance to break the game open. After Gose drove in the Tigers second run it left McCullers with men on first and second with no outs. Ian Kinsler hit a sharp grounder to Jonathan Villar who started a 5-4-3 triple play. It was the first triple play they have turned since 2004.
Trailing 2-1 going into the sixth inning with 2 outs, the Astros strung together four consecutive singles from Preston Tucker, Chris Carter, Jason Castro and Gonzalez to make the score 3-2. McCullers looked solid as he finished out the bottom of the sixth, and the bullpen took over after that allowing no baserunners the rest of the way to seal the victory (with some help from a nifty play by Colby Rasmus.) Luke Gregerson had a nice return to action after a few days of rest earning his eleventh save of the season.
The two teams meet tomorrow as the Astros try for the split. They will send Roberto Hernandez to the mound to face the Tigers Anibal Sanchez just after noon tomorrow.
The Astros have not hit a home run since Tucker's on Thursday. That is 2 whole games (plus a couple of extra innings). Come on guys! Really? I must be able to enjoy the homers to which I have become accustomed!
A lot on McCullers today (as it should be), He came out after having thrown 100 pitches. Every fastball he threw in the 6th inning was 94+ (even hitting 96 on a couple). He looked like he could have kept pitching all day.
The last Astros triple play I mentioned (in 2004) was also a 5-4-3, and it was Ensberg to Kent to Lamb.
Tweet of the Day
You know...he has a point.
McCullers looked outstanding. Plus, knows how to induce triple-play groundouts; can't teach that! #Astros— Robert Ford (@raford3) May 23, 2015
Mo is always there with a good quote...
If I were a reporter: "@LMcCullers43, nice game. What's it like having your drivers license for less than 5 years?"— Morgan Ensberg (@MorganEnsberg) May 23, 2015