HOUSTON – Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. has not allowed a hit through six innings against the San Francisco Giants.
The right-hander retired his first six batters before plunking Austin Slater on the leg to start the third inning. He helped himself out with a nifty defensive play to end that inning when he ran to cover first base on a grounder hit by Mike Yastrzemski, made an off-balance catch and tagged Yastrzemski before falling to the dirt.
He got a lot of weak contact on his offspeed pitches and had six groundouts and struck out two over the next three innings before getting the third out of the sixth on a fly ball to center field by Yastrzemski.
McCullers has thrown 73 pitches. His highest pitch count this season is 92.
The Astros, who are trying to snap a five-game skid, took a 6-0 lead on Martin Maldonado's homer in the sixth.
The performance by McCullers comes after he tied a career high by allowing eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings of a 14-7 loss at Arizona in his last start.
The 26-year-old McCullers returned this season after missing last season recovering from Tommy John surgery.