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Astros flex for 14, stifle Dodgers in series win

McCullers exits after 4 innings with elbow discomfort
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

LOS ANGELES -- Just as Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. struck out Brian Dozier to end the fourth inning Saturday night and set a regular-season career high for innings pitched, an elbow injury forced him out of the game.

The injury -- right elbow discomfort -- spoiled an otherwise terrific night for the Astros, who scored four times in the sixth and seven times in the eighth to blast the Dodgers, 14-0, at Dodger Stadium and extend their winning streak to four games.

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LOS ANGELES -- Just as Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. struck out Brian Dozier to end the fourth inning Saturday night and set a regular-season career high for innings pitched, an elbow injury forced him out of the game.

The injury -- right elbow discomfort -- spoiled an otherwise terrific night for the Astros, who scored four times in the sixth and seven times in the eighth to blast the Dodgers, 14-0, at Dodger Stadium and extend their winning streak to four games.

View Full Game Coverage

Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-3), Josh Reddick (3-for-5) and Jake Marisnick all homered for Houston, which has won four in a row to improve to 30 games over .500 at 71-41. Yuli Gurriel (3-for-5, two RBIs) and Martin Maldonado (2-for-4, three RBIs) also had big nights at the plate.

"We had really good at-bats early in the game and it got a little bit contagious at the end," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I thought we ran the bases very, very well early and put a little pressure on them and had a couple of big hits and obviously opened it up late. Pretty explosive night for us."

McCullers threw four scoreless innings, striking out five batters, before summoning Hinch and an athletic trainer to the mound while warming up for the fifth. Brad Peacock replaced him and struck out four of the six batters he faced in two innings to get the win.

Video: HOU@LAD: McCullers leaves game with elbow discomfort

"Brad did a good job when the game is still close there, coming in and with the right-handedness of their lineup today, it was the perfect setup for us and for him," Hinch said. "He came in and punched out everybody."

Gonzalez, whose stunning ninth-inning homer in Game 2 last year at Dodger Stadium swung the momentum in the Astros' favor in the World Series, led off the second with a homer off Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (7-7). The Astros batted around in the sixth inning, scoring four times to take a 5-0 lead, keyed by a two-run double by Gurriel.

Video: HOU@LAD: Gurriel strokes a 2-run double down the line

"It got ugly real quickly," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "To find a silver lining tonight ain't going to happen. The game's over, I guess that's the silver lining. They're a very good ballclub. We were in it toe to toe."

In the eighth, Maldonado had a two-run, ground-rule double to snap an 0-for-34 slump, and Reddick capped the seven-run outburst with a three-run homer. He hit .258 with two homers in 47 games with the Dodgers at the end of the 2016 season and relished his homer into the bleachers

"I'd be lying if I didn't say it felt really, really good," he said. "You come into a place where you weren't appreciated and liked as a home player and you come here and get booed tremendously. Not only that, when you can beat a team like that, it's going to feel great. It felt really amazing to put that little good swing on it and get more boos."

Video: HOU@LAD: Hinch, Reddick on 14-0 win over Dodgers

The Astros have held the Dodgers, who scored 21 runs on Thursday, to one run in two games. The Dodgers haven't scored since Joc Pederson hit a first-inning homer Friday, a span of 17 innings.

"It's important for us to keep putting up wins when we're getting this kind of pitching," Hinch said. "Our entire pitching staff tonight threw the ball well. When you pitch a shutout, that obviously feels good. You put up these kinds of runs we expect to win, obviously. On this road trip, so far, back-to-back series win and we go for the sweep tomorrow."

Video: HOU@LAD: Hinch on huge offense, McCullers

SOUND SMART
After the big outburst, the Astros' run differential for the season is plus-200, which is the best in the Majors.

HE SAID IT
"I know he had a tough stretch here as a Dodger and it seemed liked the fans remembered. For him to have a big game like this is pretty awesome." -- Hinch, on Reddick

UP NEXT
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (10-3, 2.55 ERA) starts for the Astros in Sunday's 3:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. A UCLA product, Cole makes his first start at Dodger Stadium since Aug. 13, 2016, while he was with the Pirates. Right-hander Walker Buehler (4-4, 3.65) will start for L.A.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros