Collin McHugh dazzles as Astros split series with A’s


“Stuff wise, I think he was okay, but it wasn’t anything special.”

I don’t know what game A’s designated hitter Josh Donaldson was watching, but it certainly couldn’t have been the one Collin McHugh was.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The sequel to McHugh’s first start in an Astros uniform was even better than anyone could have hoped. After shutting out the Mariners for 6.2 innings while striking out 12 five days ago, McHugh took the mound in Houston for the first time in his career and tossed another dandy: 8.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 BB, 7 SO on 114 pitches.

Carlos Corporan started in place of Jason Castro due to the lefthander on the mound for the A’s.

"“We used all his pitches – changeups, curveballs, cutters – up, down, changed eye levels,” Corporan said. “Everything. It was unbelievable. That was exciting.”"

McHugh, who was claimed off of waivers from the Rockies this offseason, went 15.1 innings without allowing a run before a two-out single in the ninth snapped his streak. The 15.1 inning scoreless streak was the third longest in Astros history for a starting pitcher to begin a season.

Dexter Fowler, also acquired from Colorado, drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI groundout plating Jonathan Villar.

A’s starter Tommy Milone cruised right along with McHugh, matching zero for zero until trouble struck in the seventh inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Milone left a change-up up in the zone for Villar, who grooved it into left-center for a two-run stand up triple to give the Astros a 3-0 lead.

A’s manager Bob Melvin brought in reliever Dan Otero who promptly watched Jose Altuve deposit the first pitch he saw into the Crawford Boxes — his first home run of the year.

After 104 pitches, Bo Porter allowed McHugh to take the mound in the ninth inning looking for the shutout. After two flyouts, McHugh was one batter away from just the 19th one-hitter in Astros history. An 0-1 pitch from him was originally ruled a ball, but after a replay review, it was ruled that Brandon Moss was hit in the foot by the pitch. That snapped a streak of 19 consecutive batters sat down by McHugh.

Moss would then steal second and score on an Alberto Callaspo bloop single into left field. Porter made the call for LHP Raul Valdes to come in and get the final out.

Porter now has a decision to make come the next turn in the rotation. Before the game he said that Scott Feldman (elbow tendinits) will come off the 15-day DL as scheduled and start either Saturday or Sunday.

"“I don’t think he put us in a tough spot; I think he put himself in a really good spot,” Porter said. “Performance pretty much speaks for itself. This guy has earned the right to get the ball the next turn.”"

Fowler, who struggled after being hospitalized earlier in the season, has now hit safely in eight straight games.

The win gives Houston a split of the series with Oakland after dropping the first two games before bouncing back to win 7-6 Saturday.

"“It feels great,” McHugh said. “First of all, it feels good to get a win. Another one against the A’s. They are a good team. To be able to take two from them, especially here at home to end the series. It builds momentum. It’s huge.”"

The Astros (9-17) continue this nine-game homestand Tuesday with the first of a 2-game series against the Washington Nationals.