Indians outlast Astros 7-6
Three-run first sinks McCullers

Reddick couldn't duplicate Tuesday's magic
(c) Houston Chronicle

The Astros battled back but were unable to overcome an early deficit in Cleveland Wednesday night, falling to the Indians by a score of 7-6. The Tribe got to Lance McCullers for three runs on four hits and a walk in the first inning. Doubles by Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez, both of which barely eluded the grasp of centerfielder Josh Reddick, proved to be crucial.

Evan Gattis closed the gap to 3-2 in the fourth inning with his second home run of the season, a 433-foot blast off Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer.

Brantley knocked in two more runs in the fifth with a single through a drawn-in infield that was just out of shortstop Carlos Correa's reach.

The Astros pulled to within one run again in the sixth when Brian McCann slugged his third home run of the season -- a two-run shot to right-center.

Tony Sipp relieved McCullers in the sixth and the results were less than stellar. The Astros' lefty was able to retire only one of the three batters he faced (thanks to a sacrifice bunt) before exiting in favor of Michael Feliz. A Carlos Santana double plated both inherited runners to put the Tribe up by three... again.

The Astros loaded the bases against Andrew Miller with only one out in the seventh. But Miller fanned Correa and McCann to snuff the rally. Bryan Shaw came on to pitch for Terry Francona's team in the eighth and the reliever's fielding error helped the Astros pull to within one run for a third time. Marwin Gonzalez plated a pair with a two-out double, chasing Shaw from the mound in favor of closer Cody Allen.

Allen got the job done, recording the final four outs to notch his fourth save of the season and tie the series at one game apiece. Bauer got the win, his sixth in six career starts against Houston.

Mike Fiers and Corey Kluber are scheduled to face off in Thursday's rubber game that will start at 5:10 Houston time. Astros fans hope to see Jose Altuve and George Springer back in the lineup. Altuve sat out Wednesday's game a day after a collision with Teoscar Hernandez that put Hernandez on the disabled list. Springer has seen limited action since straining a hamstring last Saturday. Tony Kemp was called up to replace Hernandez on the roster and is ready to fill in if needed.

- Greg Thurston