If you play for the Astros and your last name begins with “Mc”, then you probably had a good performance on Friday night in the first contest of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Houston took a 4-3 win thanks to Lance McCullers’ longest start of 2022 and a pretty good offensive effort by Chas McCormick.
Let’s start with the pitching star. McCullers outdueled Michael Lorenzen with seven strong innings of four hits, two earned runs, one walk, and six strikeouts on 105 pitches (67 strikes). He won his third game of the campaign (3-1) and lowered his ERA to 2.20.
Both McCullers’ starts in September have come against the Angels, a team against he’s gone 12 2/3 innings of 10 hits and four earned runs along with 13 strikeouts.
Lance’s only mistake came against Mike Trout in the sixth inning. With a man on board, Trout deposited a McCullers pitch over the center-field fence for his 33rd home run of the season.
In the bottom of that inning, Jeremy Peña launched his 17th blast of the campaign and first since August 20. Peña’s solo jack was the spark for the Astros lineup and for McCormick, who was ready for a big stage in the seventh inning.
With Trey Mancini on board, McCormick swatted a go-ahead homer (13) to leave things 3-2 with two innings more to go. McCormick, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, drove in another key run with a bases-loaded walk in the ninth (4-2).
Before sealing the victory and getting his 26th save of the year, Ryan Pressly made us all feel in danger. Pressly allowed a Taylor Ward solo home run to shrink the lead to only one run (4-3). The Astros’ closer tied his career-high for saves (26) and still have plenty of time to set a new mark or even get to 30.
On Saturday, both teams will collide again with Shohei Ohtani on the mound for the Angels and José Urquidy as the starter for the Astros. Good pitching matchup!