Lance McCullers giving up five runs over four innings would normally be the headliner for what most assuredly be an Astros loss. But that wasn’t the case on Thursday as the Astros offense flexed its new muscles on the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs in the first of two exhibition games before the start of the 2017 season.
That offensive output was led by new acquisition outfielder Josh Reddick. Reddick was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Reddick launched a Brett Anderson changeup for a two-run home run in the second inning — cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.
An opposite field home run from Jose Altuve again chipped away at the grown Cubs lead, 5-3 in the third inning.
Small ball helped in the fifth inning. Alex Bregman reached on a two-base error and moved to third on a bunt from Altuve — a bit of a surprise from the No.3 hole hitter.
The Astros offense blew the game open against Hector Rondon in the sixth inning. Six hits scored four runs. Yuli Gurriel singled and was followed by a pair of doubles from Reddick and Gattis. George Springer singled top put runners on the corners with the score 6-6. A single from Bregman and a passed ball scored two more runs.
Jandel Gustave, Chris Devenski, and Luke Gregerson combined to pitch three scoreless innings. James Hoyt gave up a bomb to Anthony Rizzo but held the Cubs scoreless minus that for two innings.
McCullers allowed five earned runs on five hits while striking out six and walking two.
Joe Musgrove will face off against Kyle Kendricks in the final tune-up game on Friday.