Michael Brantley delivered an RBI single before Yuli Gurriel added a three-run home run in the eighth inning as the Houston Astros took a 5-1 home win over the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday.
Brantley plated Jose Altuve with his hit off Alex Claudio, snapping a 1-1 tie resulting from a dazzling pitching duel between Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1) and Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani, who both allowed solo homers whilst twirling gems. Gurriel followed two batters later with a two-out blast into the Crawford Boxes in left for his sixth home run.
Kyle Tucker clubbed an opposite-field, leadoff homer to left off Ohtani in the fifth inning before Taylor Ward knotted the game with his solo shot to right off McCullers with one out in the eighth. Tucker socked his club-leading seventh home run while Ward recorded his second of 2021.
McCullers was sharp from the start, fanning two batters in the first inning, including Mike Trout on three pitches. He worked around a throwing error from Altuve, his first of the season, in the second by getting Jose Rojas to ground into an inning-ending double play before getting help from his battery mate, Martin Maldonado, after Ward stroked a leadoff single in the third inning.
Maldonado erased Ward as he attempted to swipe second base, enabling McCullers to sidestep a walk to Phil Gosselin with two fly-ball outs. That initiated a streak of 11 consecutive batters retired by McCullers, a run that included four consecutive strikeouts through the sixth. When Ohtani (single) and Trout (walk) reached to open the seventh, McCullers induced a double-play grounder from Jared Walsh before Justin Upton rolled a harmless grounder to Altuve at second.
McCullers allowed one run on three hits with two walks and matched his season high of nine strikeouts while working a season-high eight innings. He threw 96 pitches, including 64 strikes.
Ohtani was equally magnificent, recording a season-high 10 strikeouts over seven innings. He allowed four hits and one walk. Ohtani surrendered leadoff singles in the first and fourth innings only to find another gear and record back-to-back strikeouts in the first inning and three in succession to conclude the fourth.
–Field Level Media