McCullers goes 6 shutout innings in return, Astros down A’s

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Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

By JOSHUA KOCH

HOUSTON (AP) — Lance McCullers Jr. pitched six shutout innings in his season debut, Alex Bregman homered and Trey Mancini had three hits as the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 8-0. McCullers, an All-Star in 2017, allowed two hits, struck out five and walked four, tossing 47 of his 81 pitches for strikes.

McCullers pitched for the first time in 305 days for Houston, last pitching for the Astros in Game 4 of the 2021 AL Divisional Series against the Chicago White Sox.

McCullers went on to miss the 2021 ALCS and World Series for the Astros due to a right flexor tendon strain.