NEW YORK -- Over the past three seasons, no one has hit more home runs to right field at Yankee Stadium than Brian McCann. The famed short porch has been kind to the left-handed-hitting slugger, who visited one of his favorite New York attractions with a three-run shot in the Astros' 5-1 victory over the Yankees on Friday.
McCann's sixth home run of the season produced an early cushion for right-hander Lance McCullers, who helped lead the Astros (25-11) -- winners of five in a row -- to their best 36-game start in franchise history by limiting the Yankees to four hits over six scoreless innings, striking out seven.
"I knew it was a slider that kind of backed up on him that he didn't finish," McCann said of the home run. "I was able to keep my hands inside and keep it fair."
Carlos Correa also had a run-scoring single as the Astros rapped Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery for four runs and eight hits in six innings. The left-hander walked one and struck out seven in his sixth Major League start.
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Houston improved to 10-2 in its past 12 games, while the Yanks dropped their third straight contest. New York is 3-for-24 with runners in scoring position over that span.
"We've seen a couple of good pitchers, but you're going to go through that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You're not going to hit two or three home runs every game. We've hit a little streak here, but we'll bounce back."
Will Harris threw a 1-2-3 seventh for Houston, and Luke Gregerson followed with a perfect eighth, with the help of a great diving catch by George Springer in left-center that robbed Brett Gardner of a hit.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A Mac attack: McCann pounced on Montgomery's 84-mph changeup to belt his fourth-inning blast to the second deck in right field, which came with Correa and Marwin Gonzalez aboard. It was a familiar sight for Yankees fans; since McCann signed with New York prior to the 2014 season, he has now hit 47 homers to right field in The Bronx.
"He's a good matchup for Montgomery," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "There's one left-handed hitter in the lineup, and he doesn't spin the ball a ton, so it was good for him to hang in there. Obviously, McCann has done that before in this ballpark and he got a great pitch to hit."
Go no further: McCullers had one of his most impressive sequences of the night in the fifth inning, recovering after Aaron Judge started the inning by barreling a 114.9-mph double to left field. McCullers continued the Yanks' woes with runners in scoring position by striking out the next three batters in order, whiffing Didi Gregorius, catching Chase Headley looking and then fanning Aaron Hicks to leave Judge on second base.
"I thought McCullers had a great curveball today," Girardi said. "I thought he used it ahead, I thought he used it behind. I thought he used it really effectively. A few changeups, but the curveball was the difference." More >
Headley was ejected by home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson in the bottom of the seventh inning. Headley appeared to be injured while squaring to bunt an 0-1 pitch from Will Harris, then stayed in the game after a delay. Before the next pitch was thrown, words were exchanged at home plate and Johnson tossed Headley. Ronald Torreyes completed the at-bat in Headley's place.
"I think that [Johnson] was in the wrong. I didn't say a word to him," Headley said. "He approached me, took his mask off and put his finger in my face, and I responded." More >
Astros: Right-hander Mike Fiers, who's tied for the Major League lead with 14 home runs allowed (in only 30 1/3 innings), will start Saturday's 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, weather permitting. He earned his first win of the season Sunday in Anaheim, allowing three runs and four hits in five innings.
Yankees: Right-hander Luis Severino is scheduled to take the ball on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET as the Yankees continue their four-game series with the Astros. Severino owns the sixth-lowest WHIP in the Majors (0.91) and is tied for the eighth-lowest opponents' batting average (.200, 29-for-145). He has completed at least seven innings in four of his last five starts.
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