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“We had some errors tonight that hurt us a little bit, cost us another three or four runs,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “And when you’re having trouble scoring runs, it makes it that much more difficult to win a baseball game.”
The Astros (31-15) added two insurance runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, sealing their second win in as many days against Detroit (21-23).
In five innings, McCullers (5-1) extended the Majors’ longest active scoreless streak to 22 innings. He used 96 pitches to strike out five, walk two and allow one hit. Houston’s bullpen allowed its first two runs of the series in the seventh on a two-out, two-run shot by Mikie Mahtook.
“I feel like I had really good stuff,” McCullers said. “Probably the best sinker-changeup combo I’ve had up to this point. Early on, my curveball was a little erratic. So I figured it out toward the later parts.”
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reddick’s steal and score: In the third inning, Reddick stole Houston’s first base since May 12, ending the club’s nine-game drought without a steal. Shortly after, on a fielding error by Castellanos, Altuve landed on base in his 17th straight game, scoring Reddick, and extended Houston’s lead to 2-0.
First game, first homer: In his first Major League appearance this season, Centeno drilled a home run 406 feet to left-center field, marking his first hit, run and RBI this year. Centeno, who was later intentionally walked, joined the Astros on Sunday after Brian McCann was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
“Wasn’t that a great night for him?” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I thought he handled the game extraordinarily well. … It was a fun night. He should be very proud of his effort. Our team responded well to him.”
“He was amazing. He got called up a couple days ago, so I hadn’t had the chance to work with him before. I didn’t get a chance to work with him in the spring … but he was great back there. I thought we were on the same page a lot. To come up, fill in, catch that well and have that big homer and a big single for us, hats off to him. He did an awesome job tonight.” — McCullers, on Centeno
“Whether it’s a righty, lefty, ambidextrous guy, doesn’t matter. I’m going to go out there and play as well as I can and do anything I can to help this team win.” — Mahtook, who has accounted for two of Detroit’s six hits this series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• McCullers’ scoreless streak is now the longest by an Astros pitcher since Roy Oswalt’s 32-inning stretch from Aug. 27-Sept. 11, 2008.
• Zimmermann has given up 13 home runs this season, second most among American League pitchers, but he has allowed just 16 runs from them — 10 solo shots and three two-run homers. He has yet to give up a home run this season with a runner in scoring position.
Tigers: Daniel Norris, who has completed six innings only once in his last six starts, will face the Astros for the first time in his career Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. ET. Norris has held his walk total down in recent starts, but the left-hander continues to cross the 100-pitch mark before he can get through the sixth.
Astros: Right-hander Charlie Morton will start Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. CT game at Minute Maid Park. Morton allowed four runs on eight hits (three home runs) in 5 1/3 innings his last time out. Morton hasn’t lasted more than six innings in four starts this month.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Astros on Tuesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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