HOUSTON – Lance McCullers continued his dominant pitching in his home park and the Houston Astros claimed a series victory over the Los Angeles Angels with a 2-1 win on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.
McCullers (2-0) did not allow a hit until Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons opened the fifth inning with a single to left and surrendered just three singles total before exiting following back-to-back walks with two outs in the seventh. He recorded eight strikeouts against three walks and has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his 23 career home starts. He improved to 11-4 at Minute Maid Park.
When McCullers ran into a spot of trouble in the seventh, right-hander Chris Devenski was there to bail him out. Devenski struck out Angels second baseman Danny Espinosa with Simmons and Cameron Maybin on base to preserve the lead, and followed by retiring the side in the eighth inning before surrendering a leadoff home run to center fielder Mike Trout to open the ninth.
Devenski allowed two more hits but struck out Espinosa with the go-ahead runner in scoring position. For Devenski, it was his first save on the season.
The Astros (11-5) mustered just enough offense against Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker (0-1), with left fielder Carlos Beltran and center fielder Jake Marisnick clubbing solo home runs in the first and fifth innings, respectively. Beltran socked his first home run to right field with one out; Marisnick blasted a 440-foot shot to left field with two outs for his second home run on the season.
Shoemaker was splendid otherwise, allowing just three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings. But the Angels (7-10) were limited to one run or less for the fifth time in their last seven games, all losses.
NOTES: With his two-out, two strike single in the top of the sixth inning, Angels RF Kole Calhoun snapped an 0-for-20 skid, the longest hitless streak of his career. ... Astros SS Carlos Correa was back in the starting lineup after missing the first three games of the series with soreness in his right hand. Correa was hit by a pitch last Saturday against the Athletics in Oakland. ... The Astros recalled RHP James Hoyt from Triple-A Fresno and placed RHP Jandel Gustave on the 10-day disabled list with right forearm tightness. Gustave beat out Hoyt for the final roster spot following spring training. ... Angels 3B Luis Valbuena continues to ramp up activities as he rehabs the right hamstring strain that landed him on the 10-day DL on April 1. Valbuena has begun agility drills but hasn’t started running the bases.