McCullers, Rasmus help Astros over Yankees 4-1
HOUSTON (AP) Lance McCullers isn't reveling in his success after two straight 10-strikeout games.
Houston's 22-year-old starter remains focused on improving.
''It's a good two starts, but tomorrow it's back to what I can do to try to help the team win against Toronto the following week,'' he said. ''So that's all I'm really thinking about right now.''
McCullers fanned 10 in six solid innings, Colby Rasmus broke out of a slump with a two-run homer and the Astros beat the New York Yankees 4-1 on Wednesday night.
McCullers (6-4) allowed five hits and one run and his 10 strikeouts tied a season high.
''All in all he's becoming a little more of a complete pitcher the more that he utilizes all his weapons,'' manager A.J. Hinch said.
He kept the Yankees off-balance by throwing almost as many curveballs as fastballs, but to Brian McCann it seemed like more than that.
''He's got one of the better curveballs you're going to see and out of 90 pitches it seemed like he threw 89 of them,'' McCann said. ''He has a great arm and a really good curveball.''
Rasmus snapped an 0-for-29 skid when he sent an off-speed pitch from Masahiro Tanaka (7-3) into the seats behind the bullpen in right-center field to make it 4-0 with one out in the third.
He said he hasn't felt right most of this month after getting an ear infection early in July.
''My ear had a little bit to do with it, kind of got me down those few days there to get my balance off and what not,'' he said. ''I was trying to play through it and suck it up. I got that kind of tamed now ... so I'm hoping that can get me on a good roll and I can help this team win some ball games.''
Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson pitched a scoreless inning each before Will Harris got his 11th save by striking out two in the ninth.
Tanaka, who entered the game with a 1.50 ERA in nine road starts, allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings for the loss. He had thrown 12 1/3 straight scoreless innings on the road before an RBI single by Carlos Gomez with one out in the first inning.
''He had the one bad inning. He left the (splitter) up, he left a couple pitches up that inning,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''They made him work. He had a real easy first inning and then after that they really made him work. The one inning really did him in.''
Marwin Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a single to start the third. He advanced to second on a groundout and took third on a wild pitch. A single by Carlos Correa came next to score Gonzalez and push the lead to 2-0.
Rasmus then collected his first hit since July 5, when he also homered and drove in two runs, on his 12th homer this season.
McCann cut the lead to 4-1 when he led off the fourth inning with a home run to center field.
Didi Gregorius singled with one out before McCullers walked Starlin Castro. But McCullers ended the threat by striking out the next two batters to end the inning.
McCullers then struck out the side in the fifth to make it five in a row.
McCann's homer was the highlight of the night for the Yankees, who managed just four other hits, which were all singles, and struck out a season-high 15 times.
Astros: Houston 3B Luis Valbuena was out of the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game in the second inning with a strained right hamstring. Hinch said he was feeling better on Wednesday and was confident that he would avoid a trip to the disabled list. ... Gomez left the game before the third inning with a strained right hamstring, but said after the game that he didn't think it was serious.
Yankees: New York has a day off Thursday before opening a three-game series at Tampa Bay with Ivan Nova (7-5, 4.65) on the mound.
Astros: Houston is off on Thursday before Collin McHugh (7-6, 4.18) starts in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit. McHugh allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a win over the Angels on Saturday.