The Astros needed another long start from their starting pitcher after their bullpen had been taxed all week, and that’s exactly what they got from Collin McHugh. The waiver pick-up this offseason, McHugh pitched a gem, silencing the Athletics’ bats for most of the game.
McHugh allowed a first inning single to Jed Lowrie before retiring 19 straight batters as he plowed through the Athletics’ lineup. With his pitch count in the early 100’s, manager Bo Porter stuck with the emergency starter to try and give him a chance to finish what he had started.
After getting the first two batters out, McHugh hit Brandon Moss on his back foot to put a runner on first. Moss then stole second, before being driven home by an Alberto Callaspo single with two outs in the ninth inning. Porter decided that was enough and brought in Raul Valdes to close up shop. The Astros would win the game 5-1.
The Astros got one run in the third inning via a Dexter Fowler RBI groundout. They were back at it in the seventh inning when Jonathan Villar smacked a two-run triple to left field. Jose Altuve followed it up with a two-run shot of his own to give the Astros the five-run cushion.
But the story was Collin McHugh. The 26-year old finished allowing just 2 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks while striking out 7 batters in 8.2 innings. Personally, I would have preferred if Porter gave him another batter or two to get him his deserved complete game.
McHugh now has pitched 15.1 innings of one-run ball, and the Astros will have to make a tough decision once Scott Feldman is ready to come back to the rotation.
The Astros win pushes them to 9-17 on the season, and gives them a 2-2 series split with the Athletics. They’ll have the day off tomorrow as they get ready to face Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.