By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Brian McCann hit a three-run homer against his former team and Lance McCullers Jr. pitched four-hit ball over six shutout innings to lead the Houston Astros past the New York Yankees 5-1 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
Carlos Correa added a pop-fly RBI single for the Astros, who boosted the top record in the majors to 25-11. Off to the best start in team history, Houston has won 10 of 12 and matched its longest winning streak of the season.
Suddenly slumping at the plate, the Yankees barely avoided being shut out for the first time this year when Didi Gregorius hit an RBI single off James Hoyt with two outs in the ninth. New York (21-12) has dropped three in a row for the first time since the opening week of the season.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman gave up Josh Reddick’s two-out RBI single in the ninth and was checked by a trainer on the mound moments later. Chapman initially remained in the game, then was removed after allowing another single.
Rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, the first time he has permitted more than three runs in six major league starts.
The 23-year-old McCullers (3-1) struck out seven and walked none in his first start at Yankee Stadium. He has not given up an earned run in either of his last two outings.
The right-hander’s father, Lance, pitched for the Yankees from 1989-90.
Flashing a 95-96 mph fastball and sharp breaking pitches, McCullers worked around Aaron Judge’s leadoff double in the fifth _ New York’s first extra-base hit in 19 innings since Tuesday at Cincinnati _ by striking out the next three hitters.
Correa and Marwin Gonzalez singled in the fourth before McCann drove Montgomery’s changeup into the second deck in right field, just inside the foul pole.
The 33-year-old McCann signed an $85 million, five-year contract with the Yankees in December 2013 and averaged 23 homers in three seasons with the team. But after the emergence of young catcher Gary Sanchez last summer, McCann waived his no-trade clause to be sent to Houston for two minor league pitchers last November. The Yankees agreed to pay $11 million of his remaining salaries.
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Yankees third baseman Chase Headley was ejected during a strange sequence in the seventh. Headley tried to bunt against the defensive shift and fouled off a high fastball. Knocked to the ground, he grabbed his hand as though his finger got hit and was checked by a trainer and manager Joe Girardi. After a few moments, the switch-hitter stepped back into the batter’s box and got into a heated, face-to-face argument with plate umpire Adrian Johnson, who tossed Headley.
BEST LAID PLANS
With steady rain in the forecast all day Saturday and Houston not scheduled to return to Yankee Stadium after this weekend, a Sunday doubleheader might be on tap. The situation is more complicated than usual because Sunday is Derek Jeter Night _ the Yankees plan to honor their former captain in a pregame ceremony, retiring his No. 2 and unveiling his Monument Park plaque. After the nationally televised game, Houston will take an overnight flight to Miami. “I know there’s a lot of people working on it. I’ve never talked this much internally about a rainout almost 24 hours in advance,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I know they’re making contingency plans.”
Astros: Reddick was rested against the lefty before entering on defense in the seventh, and Carlos Beltran made his first start this season in right field. The 40-year-old Beltran has made five starts in left, but there’s much more ground to cover in left field at Yankee Stadium, so Hinch put Beltran in right _ a spot he often played for the Yankees. … RHP David Paulino, sidelined all season with tightness in his right forearm, was activated from the disabled list and assigned to Triple-A Fresno. Paulino started Thursday night for Fresno and pitched three shutout innings in his only rehab appearance.
Yankees: 2B Starlin Castro took a false step while settling under an easy popup in the sixth. He came up hobbling and bent over in discomfort for a moment as Girardi looked on from the dugout in concern. Castro, however, gave a thumbs up and stayed in the game. … Matt Holliday started at first base over slumping Chris Carter.
Weather permitting, Houston RHP Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.64 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon against RHP Luis Severino (2-2, 3.40).
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