It's called a "twin-killing", but if Saturday night's 3-0 whitewash of Oakland needed description, an "athletic-killing" would be just as appropriate. Baserunners were rare enough for the green and gold who picked up six hits and three walks over nine innings but six of them were erased on double plays.
McHugh: Channeling Shane Reynolds
(c) Associated Press
Collin McHugh, the former 19-game winner, experienced his first win of the season on Saturday and it must have felt good. Before 32,796 at Minute Maid, McHugh needed 92 pitches to finish six innings. He allowed all six Oakland hits and walked just one before turning it over to a trio of one-inning relievers. Nelson Liriano, Joe Musgrove and Tyler Clipper tossed one shutout inning each with Clippard earning his first save as an Astro.
The Astros fell one short of tying an American League record and a team record by turning six double plays. Houston turned seven back in 1969 against San Francisco but that was while Houston was a National League city. This time, the Astros flashed leather while decked in 1990s N.L. throwback uniforms of midnight blue and gold.
First baseman Yuri Gurriel made the last out on all six. Jose Altuve started three of them while Marwin Gonzalez, Alex Bregman and McHugh began the other three. Oh, and with symbolic flair, the last one came when umpires had a safe call at first overruled. Holy Jim Joyce!
Gonzalez also was key to the offense, dribbling a seeing-eye single into right that plated Altuve and Josh Reddick in the fourth. Those were the only runs off Oakland starter Kendall Graveman. Bregman provided insurance with a solo homer in the eighth off Ryan Dull that fell just inside the left field foul pole.
Otherwise, the day belonged to the defense. The club-happy Astros managed to win a pair of games and score just three runs in each. Houston will try for the sweep on Sunday during the 1:10 Central series finale. Brad Peacock (10-1) will try to keep the momentum going for Houston while Oakland counters with Jharel Cotton (5-10). Houston is currently 12-2 against the A's this season.
- Bob Hulsey