McHugh delivered a second consecutive sterling spot start as the
Houston Astros salvaged a split of their four-game series with the
Oakland Athletics with a 5-1 victory Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
McHugh, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City last week to fill the
void left when Feldman was sidelined, strengthened his argument to
remain in the rotation by carrying a one-hit shutout into the ninth.
McHugh (2-0) retired 19 consecutive batters before hitting left
fielder Brandon Moss with a pitch. Moss immediately stole second
base and scored when third baseman Alberto Callaspo dumped an RBI
single into shallow left field.
Reliever Raul Valdes retired pinch-hitter Craig Gentry to send
Oakland (15-10) to its second consecutive series loss after eight
straight wins over Houston.
McHugh allowed one run on two hits and three walks with seven
strikeouts over a career-high 8 2/3 innings. He recorded 12
strikeouts over 6 2/3 shutout innings in his season debut against
the Seattle Mariners on April 22, allowing three hits and zero walks
in a 5-2 victory.
"I don't think he put us in a tough spot; I think he put himself in
a really good spot," Astros manager Bo Porter said of his brain
trust. "Performance pretty much speaks for itself. This guy has
earned the right to get the ball the next turn.
"Once Feldman gets ready we'll make that decision at that time, but
you look at the two starts he's had, he's earned his keep."
The Astros (9-17) provided McHugh some breathing room by erupting
for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shortstop
Jonathan Villar recorded his first triple of the season, driving in
third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Carlos Corporan with two
outs to extend the Astros' lead to 3-0.
That was the 103rd and final pitch of the afternoon for Athletics
left-hander Tommy Milone (0-2). Astros second baseman Jose Altuve
crushed the first pitch he saw from Athletics right-handed Dan Otero
into the left-field seats, bumping the Houston lead to 5-0.
Before coming undone in the seventh, Milone matched McHugh in
effectiveness. Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler gave the Astros a
1-0 lead with his RBI groundout in the third, but that initiated a
string in which Milone retired 12 of 13 batters he faced one out
into the seventh.
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"I guess we were just kind of feeding off each other," Milone said
of the individual showdown with McHugh. "We were going quick. We
were both getting back out there and just getting a rhythm going."
Said Athletics manager Bob Melvin: "Tommy pitched great. Very few
balls were hit hard. He pitched as well as we've seen him in
But Milone blinked when he walked Dominguez with one out and
surrendered a single to Corporan, setting the stage for Villar to
produce. McHugh kept on rolling, into another win and potentially
"It's nice," McHugh said. "I haven't had a whole lot of time in my
big league career where I have had consistent starts. Knowing that
the next five days come around I am going to go out on the hill and
take the ball, it feels nice."
NOTES: With Milone on the mound and an off day upcoming, Astros C
Jason Castro was given the day off despite being behind the plate
when RHP Collin McHugh struck out 12 batters last week in Seattle.
Castro made seven consecutive starts prior to Sunday. ... Athletics
LF Yoenis Cespedes missed his third consecutive game with a left
hamstring strain suffered Thursday night in the series opener. The
injury is not deemed serious enough to land Cespedes on the disabled
list, and he could return to the lineup when Oakland opens a
three-game series at the Texas Rangers on Monday. ... The Oakland
bullpen entered Sunday with six losses and six blown saves.
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