By Derek Fogel

Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – Lance McCullers’ previous start in Oakland was less than ideal. He went just 4.1 innings, giving up eight hits and five earned runs. Thursday he had quite the bounce back going 6.2 shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight in a 2-1 win over the Angels.

Lance had to overcome a handful of his own mistakes. He walked three, hit a batter and threw 58 strikes in 100 pitches. Fortunately, he understands what to take away from each start.

“When you have a rough outing, as far as the stat line goes, you really have to break it down because you could have a good outing with the state line and be really bad. So I think you’ve got to be honest with yourself,” McCullers said. “Today was a good day and I felt good going into it.”

His change-up, which he had put a lot of focus on in spring training, really came into play in this outing. It was definitely a confidence booster for his arsenal. “I’m feeling pretty good with it. I’d like to continue to feel this way but it goes in and out. I’ve been working on it a lot mid-week, so hopefully it stays like this.”

The Astros are now (11-5) on the season which is the team’s best start since 2006. Eleven wins are also currently the most in the American League. McCullers does not feel though that the team is ahead of schedule, even considering it took them nearly a month longer to accomplish this many wins last season.

“I think we’re playing how we should be playing… We just have to keep playing good baseball, don’t get too high, don’t get too low,” Lance said.

In the lineup, solo home runs by Jake Marisnick and Carlos Beltran are what lifted the team for the win. It was Beltran’s first home run of the season and first in an Astros uniform since 2004. More importantly, Carlos is happy to be a part of this Houston team that is meeting some lofty expectations.

“I did envision this, honestly. I think looking at the guys in the clubhouse… Playing against this team last year when I was with Texas (Rangers), I know this team is very hungry to go out there and be in the playoffs again,” Beltran said.

Derek Fogel, reporter/host @FogelSaidWhat


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