McCullers tames Indians batters
Lance McCullers allowed one hit over seven innings and Brian McCann hit a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday night.
With the game still scoreless in the seventh inning, McCann sent the ball over the Astros’ bullpen in right-center field off an 87 mph changeup from Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (5-3). The homer brought home Yuli Gurriel, who had led off the inning with a single.
The defending champion Astros had recently struggled against Cleveland, entering Sunday as losers of six of their previous seven meetings.
But McCullers (6-2) was perfect through five innings, retiring the first 15 batters he faced with six strikeouts, two ground balls and seven fly balls.
One of the flyouts came in the first inning when Astros left fielder Tony Kemp chased down a ball near the foul line and made a leaping grab at the wall.
McCullers’ perfect game attempt was broken up when Jason Kipnis led off the sixth inning with a line-drive single to right center on a 2-2 count, but the Indians were unable to get much else going against McCullers.
McCullers walked two and struck out eight on 96 pitches, completing seven innings for the fourth time in his last seven starts. He has allowed two hits or fewer in three of those starts during this stretch. Ken Giles earned his eighth save of the season.
Carrasco matched McCullers’ seven innings, but allowed six hits and two runs while striking out six and walking one.
Josh Reddick pushed Houston’s lead to 3-0 with a ground-rule double to center off Tyler Olson that scored Alex Bregman. Reddick returned from a two-game absence with a leg infection.
The Indians scored their only run on a fielder’s choice grounder by Edwin Encarnacion that scored Michael Brantley, who led off the inning with a double.
Cleveland outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, played right field and batted sixth. Cabrera went 0 for 3 in his Indians debut, including lining out to right field to strand two runners in the seventh.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (back tightness) threw a bullpen session and received treatment before Sunday’s game and said he felt fine. Miller, who recently returned from a three-week absence with a hamstring strain, was unavailable to pitch on Saturday because of the lingering back discomfort.
Astros: OF Derek Fisher has been sent to the 10-day disabled list with gastrointestinal discomfort that has limited his food intake and caused noticeable weight loss in recent days, manager A.J. Hinch said. Fisher played with discomfort on Friday against Cleveland and will see a specialist Monday. To replace Fisher, the Astros recalled IF J.D. Davis, who leads Triple-A with a .415 batting average at Fresno.
Indians: Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.59 ERA) will open a two-game set at Wrigley Field on Tuesday hoping to build on his last start, where he tossed eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out 10 on May 16 at Detroit.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.75 ERA) will face the Giants in the first half of a two-game series in Houston on Tuesday. Cole leads the AL in strikeouts with 93 in 61 2/3 innings and ranks second in both opponent batting average (.166) and ERA.