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Astros’ McCullers was not thrilled about Chase Field’s roof opening in 4th

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Chase Field roof was opened between the third and fourth innings of the Arizona Diamondbacks 14-7 win against the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

In that fourth innings, the D-backs exploded for nine runs, more than their previous four games combined.

Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. thought the roof opening had something to do with that production.

“Opening the roof in the fourth is (expletive),” McCullers said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

He had been superb over the first three innings, coaxing eight groundouts in a row before retiring the ninth D-back via strikeout. In the fourth, though, the D-backs got the ball off the ground. They tagged McCullers for eight runs and then added another off relief pitcher Nivaldo Rodriguez.

“It’s not an excuse. It just is what it is,” McCullers said. “Balls were being hit that were routine pop-ups and they were landing off walls. It was kind of just an unfortunate inning.”

Opening the roof wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision for the struggling D-backs. They planned to open it between innings before the game, which Astros manager Dusty Baker confirmed during an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

“They told us before the game they were going to open the roof and when they open the roof, this place plays like Colorado,” Baker said.“I knew before the game, this place, you never really feel safe here because of big gaps and the ball jumps and they start hitting the ball out of the ballpark.

He didn’t express frustration the way McCullers did, but he did acknowledge that balls were hit harder after the roof was opened.

The D-backs finished the game with four home runs and Houston hit three over the last six innings.

“It seemed like when they opened the roof, the ball started carrying even better. They jumped us pretty good,” Baker said.


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