Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr.: ‘Best My Curveball’s Been In A Very Long Time’

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(HOUSTON) SportsRadio 610 -- Lance McCullers respectfully disagreed with the assertion he didn’t throw his best stuff in Sunday’s win to secure a weekend series sweep against the Seattle Mariners.

McCullers had given up the two runs in the third inning to allow Seattle to briefly take the lead. He hit Mariners first baseman Evan White with a fastball, or as McCullers called it after the game, an “assball.”

White stole second base and was brought in by Joseph Odom’s first career hit. McCullers later walked Dylan Moore and Kyle Lewis singled to score Odom.

McCullers got out of the inning with a Kyle Seager groundout, and said he wouldn’t change a thing other than that one pitch that got away from him.

“This is the best my curveball’s been in a very, very long time,” McCullers said. “Changeups were all bottoming out, didn’t miss a spot with the changeup. …

“I was happy with the fastball. When I was going up and missing up, I was trying to go up. It was just too (high) up.”

The Astros tied the game in the next inning when catcher Martin Maldonado, who was celebrating his 34th birthday, singled on a line drive to center field.

Kyle Tucker hit the first walk-off homer of his career in the ninth inning to break the tie.

McCullers said he’s been impressed by the Astros’ young relievers. Rookies Andre Scrubb, Enoli Paredes and Blake Taylor combined with veteran Ryan Pressly for 3 ⅓ innings of one-hit ball in relief.

“Quite amazed at what this young bullpen we have has been doing,” McCullers said. “They’ve been just unbelievable.”

McCullers begged manager Dusty Baker to let him finish the sixth inning, but he was already up to 97 pitches, the highest his count has been since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Fifty-seven of his pitches were strikes and he induced 11 swings and misses on 36 curveballs.