When he's on, Dallas Keuchel is a tough act to follow but Lance McCullers did a decent job of building similar numbers Tuesday night as he pitched six innings in leading the Astros to a 2-1 victory over Seattle to remain undefeated on the young season.
McCann: Welcome to Houston
(c) Associated Press
McCullers tossed six innings and gave up one run on five hits while striking out seven. Relief help from Will Harris, Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles slammed the door with Giles getting his second save in two nights. That trio has the potential to rival the 2003 bullpen of Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner in their ability to make late-inning comebacks rare, shrinking the game to the first six or seven innings.
Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez belted solo homers off Hisashi Iwakuma to provide the victory margin. McCann's was his first as an Astro since he was acquired in the offseason from the Yankees.
Seattle's only run came in on a single by Danny Valencia who had two of the Mariners' seven hits. For those with short memories, Valencia is the infielder Oakland grabbed off waivers from Toronto in 2015 who morphs into Alex Rodriguez every time he sees an Astros pitcher. A.J. Hinch should be wary of him when arranging matchups.
Meanwhile, Houston's offense has produced five runs and four of them came via solo homers. The formula has worked in the early going but the Astros will need to find other ways to score eventually.
Off the field, the Astros learned that minor league shortstop Jonathan Arauz, the other player coming to Houston in the trade for Giles last year, will sit out a 50-game suspension before taking the field. Arauz was allegedly found to have traces of methamphetamine in his system. Seriously, folks, meth may be the worst drug addiction ever invented. Don't ever try it. It isn't worth it.
On Wednesday night, the Astros will go for their third straight win. Charlie Morton (1-1 in 2016 with Philadelphia) will make his Astros debut after signing a free agent deal over the winter. Lefthander James Paxton (6-7 in 2016) will pitch for Seattle in the 7:10 Central contest.
- Bob Hulsey