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Astros 6, Royals 1: McCullers Sets Down All-Star After All-Star In Win

Plenty of run support helps make the task easy

Bob Levey/Getty Images

What Happened

Since becoming a starter again, Joe Blanton had won two games in a row.  In 11 innings he had only given up two runs and walked no batters.  The Astros took care of that quickly.  In the second inning Luis Valbuena got an infield single against the shift, and was followed by three straight walks to score the first run of the game.  Jason Castro drove in another with a sacrifice fly.  Jose Altuve started the third inning off with a blast over the Crawford Boxes to extend the lead.  After another Valbuena infield single, and another walk, Preston Tucker and Domingo Santana delivered back-to-back RBI singles to make the score 5-0 and chase Blanton after 3 2/3 innings.  Chris Carter would later add a solo shot off of Brandon Finnegan to close out the Astros scoring.

Lance McCullers had another solid outing.  He was only one fat fastball away from throwing seven shutout innings.  Over those seven frames McCullers gave up 4 hits (including a homer on the previously mentioned fastball to Salvador Perez), struck out six and walked two.  After a leadoff single in the second inning, he set down the next nine Royals in a row, and with the help of a nice 6-4-3 double play only faced three batters the following inning also.

A big part of the victory tonight came from three guys who weren't even on the team to start the season.  The 6-7-8 hitters (Tucker, Jon Singleton and Santana) combined to go 3-for-7 with five walks, three RBIs and only two K's.

Joe Thatcher and Will Harris pitched the final two innings, giving up a couple of walks and a hit, but no runs to seal the victory.  These two teams will meet again tomorrow night as Dallas Keuchel goes up against fellow southpaw Danny Duffy in the middle game of the series.

Fun Facts

LMJ allowed the leadoff runner to reach base in 5 of the 7 innings he pitched, but the only one that scored was Perez on the homer.

LMJ has given up 1 run in four of his last five starts, and 2 in the other (even though a couple of those starts just missed going 5 innings...)

Carter's homer in the 5th was estimated at 421 feet.  At the time, I personally estimated it at "far".

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