ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lance McCullers Jr. struck out nine in seven shutout innings, and the Houston Astros beat Tampa Bay 9-2 Friday night in the first meeting of the teams since the Rays won Game 7 of last year’s AL Championship Series.
Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa had four hits each, and Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer for the Astros, who have won seven of nine following a 1-9 skid.
McCullers (2-1) won for the first time in four starts since April 3, giving up three hits and three walks while throwing a season-high 111 pitches.
Bregman’s fourth home run this season came with Brantley on base in a 35-pitch third inning against starter Ryan Yarbrough. Brantley, Bregman, Yordan Álvarez and Correa had consecutive hits in the three-run inning that put the Astros up 4-0.
Aledmys Díaz had two of Houston’s 15 hits and drove in drove in four runs.
Yarbrough (1-3) gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings, striking out five.
Willy Adames drove in Tampa Bay’s runs with a bases-loaded single in the ninth.
Astros: RHP Andre Scrubb (sore right shoulder) was activated from the injured list and pitched the ninth inning. … RHP Peter Solomon was optioned to the alternate training site Thursday to open a roster spot.
Rays: LHP Rich Hill was placed on the COVID-19-related injured list, but the Rays are hopeful he can start Sunday’s game. . . . 1B-OF Yoshi Tsutsugo was 0 for 3 with a walk after spending one day on the list.
RHP José Urquidy (1-2, 4.67) will make his sixth start of the season for Houston on Saturday against LHP Josh Fleming (1-2, 1.23 ) or an opener.
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