Lance McCullers struck out a career-high twelve Friday night while the bats buried the White Sox with a seven-run eighth to blast Chicago, 11-4, at Minute Maid. Seattle is losing by five runs to Colorado as I write but, hey, that's against the Rockies so don't presume Houston has added another game to their AL West lead just yet.
McCullers: No hits through five
(c) Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle
Regardless, Houston has won their fourth straight and their first breather in awhile. Sir Lancelot picked up his 10th win of the year, allowing just three hits and one run without a walk. McCullers took a no-hitter into the sixth before Adam Engel singled with one out. Brad Peacock finished the last two innings but had a shaky go of it, surrendering three runs on a pair of ninth-inning homers.
Yuli Gurriel got the scoring started in the third with an RBI single. Tim Federowicz plated a pair in the fourth with a double. Evan Gattis doubled home Jose Altuve in the seventh to extend the lead to 4-1 before Houston exploded in the eighth, capped by Gattis' three-run blast to left.
Gattis and Altuve had three hits each while the team overall was 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Houston will shoot for win #60 in Game #91 on Saturday afternoon in a 3:10 pm Central contest. Charlie Morton (10-2) will seek his team-leading eleventh victory while the Sox counter with veteran righty James Shields (3-9), the former Ray and Royal. Only three of the young ChiSox hitters have ever faced Morton and they are a combined 1-for-8 against him.
The Astros also thinned some of their veteran experience in the minors with a pair of deals, trading reliever James Hoyt - who came from Atlanta with Gattis four years ago - to Cleveland for right-handed Class-A pitcher Tommy DeJuneas. Houston also sent outfielder Jon Kemmer to Minnesota for cash considerations and promoted Yordan Alvarez from AA Corpus Christi to AAA Fresno. The Astros now have 38 players on the 40-man roster, room to add a veteran or two at the trade deadline without exposing anyone to waivers.
- Bob Hulsey