Houston (CBS Houston) – Lance McCullers left Tuesday’s game early with elbow discomfort, and took the loss after home runs from Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion lift the Blue Jays to a 2-1 victory.
“When I get out there he said he had a little bit of elbow discomfort at that point I didn’t ask a lot of questions. I just said you’re done for the night,” Hinch told reporters, “have him go get evaluated by the doctor and seen by the trainers. Never good to walk out with any of your players coming off the field with a trainer so that was definitely a bummer.”
Jose Bautista’s 300th career home run gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. It was Bautista’s 14th long ball this season and ended 402 feet into left field.
Edwin Encarnacion would extend the Blue Jays’ lead to two with a 402-foot leadoff homer to left, his 29th of the season, in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom half of the fourth R.A. Dickey dodged a bullet. Carlos Correa would reach on a one out single, and after Correa’s single Rasmus would launch a pitch just shy of the wall in deep right center field slightly in front of Tal’s hill.
A half inning later would prove scary for the Astros as Lance McCullers (6-5) would leave the game with two outs in the fifth because of discomfort in his right elbow. McCullers tossed 4 2/3 innings giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out six.
“We’re just going to follow protocol, I’m doing what the trainers say and talking to docs. We’re taking it step by step and see where we’re at tomorrow,” McCullers said.
Joe Musgrove, who was called up on Monday, would make his major league debut in relief of McCullers and pitched the final 4 1/3 innings giving up just one hit. He would retire the first 10 hitters he faced, and struck out eight hitters in the process. The eight strikeouts would tie a Major League Baseball record for most punch-outs by a relief pitcher in their debut, which was first achieved by Pittsburgh’s Barry Jones in 1986. Musgrove’s strikeouts by a reliever in his debut would also break Don Wilson’s club mark of seven, which he set in 1966.
McCullers summed up Musgrove’s performance best, “he’s nasty man, plain and simple, dude was filthy tonight.”
The Astros would finally get on the board in the seventh inning to close the deficit to one. After a Carlos Gomez one out double, Evan Gattis would deliver a two out, run scoring single.
R.A. Dickey (8-12) lasted seven innings and gave up one run on six hits while striking out five. Jason Grilli would pitch a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.
“After I showed I was going to throw that thing (knuckleball) for strikes, that’s usually what happens, people will want to get a look at it see the movement. Track it a few pitches and then they’ll want to attack it, but if you don’t give them a reason to sit there and take, take, take, take, take, then they’re going to get aggressive like they normally do,” Dickey said.
Game three of the four game set is Wednesday night with Collin McHugh (7-7, 4.75) facing Marco Estrada (6-4, 3.02).