McHugh sharp in return from DL
(c) Associated Press
Collin McHugh's long awaited first start of the season was further delayed by Baltimore weather, but when the skies finally cleared Saturday night Houston's right-hander looked to be in top form. McHugh sailed through the first four innings, holding the Orioles scoreless on only one hit.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman matched McHugh through four. Alex Bregman got the scoring started with a leadoff homer in the fifth, giving the Astros a 1-0 advantage.
McHugh seemed to run out of gas in the fifth, leaving a couple of fastballs over the middle of the plate resulting in a pair of 2-run blasts for Baltimore. Although he had pitched well, Collin would be forced to leave the game after 4-2/3 innings with the Astros trailing 4-1.
But the deficit would be short-lived. Josh Reddick's ground rule double with one out in the sixth got things going for the Astros offense. Yuli Gurriel followed with a 2-run homer to knock Tillman out of the game. Two singles and a strikeout later a strange turn of events took place. Colin Moran had to leave the game after a foul ball glanced off his bat and hit him under the left eye.
Marwin Gonzalez came in to replace an injured player in the middle of an at-bat for the second time in under a week. This time Gonzalez turned in an epic plate appearance, fouling off multiple pitches before cranking a 3-run home run over the rightfield wall and onto Eutaw Street.
Frances Martes kept the powerful Orioles offense under wraps for the next two innings to earn his third win of the season. The Astros added two insurance runs in the ninth, enabling A.J. Hinch to get deposed starter Joe Musgrove an inning of mop-up duty rather than employing his closer in the final frame.
Evan Gattis got the start at catcher and stayed hot with the bat. Gattis collected three hits, drove in a run, and scored another. Almost everyone got into the act as the Astros pounded out 15 hits in the game.
Moran was taken to the hospital for tests and his status going forward is unknown. The two teams close out the series Sunday at 12:35 with Lance McCullers going up against Baltimore's Dylan Bundy.
- Greg Thurston