Fiers fired up to make Astros debut

Newly acquired righty starts Tuesday vs. Rangers

Fiers fired up to make Astros debut

HOUSTON -- Though the newest Astros pitcher comes to the clubhouse sporting a full beard, lockermate Dallas Keuchel shouldn't worry.

"I grew it out for a while about a month ago," new Astros pitcher Mike Fiers said Sunday. "I think I just got lazy at the time and I just let it go. I'll try to keep it somewhat tame here. I don't think it'll get as wild as Keuchel, even though he keeps it pretty groomed."

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa continues ascent with first 2-HR effort

Rookie phenom sets Astros record with 12 dingers in first 46 games

Correa continues ascent with first 2-HR effort

HOUSTON -- As Astros manager A.J. Hinch put it after Saturday's 9-2 win over the D-backs, it takes a man to go opposite field.

Carlos Correa is a man.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel improves to 10-0 at home

After 44-pitch second inning, Astros ace stifles D-backs

Keuchel improves to 10-0 at home

HOUSTON -- A 44-pitch second inning aside, Dallas Keuchel remained perfect at home during the Astros' 9-2 win against the D-backs on Saturday.

Keuchel's scoreless streak at Minute Maid Park came to an end in that frame at 15 1/3 innings and he uncharacteristically issued three walks, due he said to a little extra movement on his two-seam fastball.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros rout D-backs on strength of 4 HRs

Astros rout D-backs on strength of 4 HRs

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa and Hank Conger each notched their first career multihomer games, while Astros ace Dallas Keuchel overcame control issues to earn his 13th win and improve to 10-0 at Minute Maid Park this season, snapping the D-backs' six-game winning streak with a 9-2 victory on Saturday night.

After depositing the first pitch of the third inning into the right-field bleachers, Conger padded a 3-2 Astros lead with his first career grand slam, capping a five-run fourth that chased D-backs starter Jeremy Hellickson. Correa, who snuck one just inside the left-field foul pole in the first, followed with a two-run shot in the sixth, giving him the American League lead in round-trippers among shortstops.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Catching duo packing plenty of punch

Astros' Conger, Castro combine for 4 HRs in past 3 games

Catching duo packing plenty of punch

HOUSTON -- To get a smile and a story out of Astros manager A.J. Hinch, mention one of two things -- Stanford or catchers.

The Cardinal alum and seven-year Major League backstop is partial to the position, even joking in the dugout during Saturday's 9-2 win over Arizona that a solid chunk of Houston's offensive power squats behind the plate.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Duquette: Three biggest Deadline winners

Duquette: Three biggest Deadline winners

While the actual Deadline day didn't feature many high-profile moves, the last week has been filled with them. Now that the dust has settled, here are the three clubs that I think improved the most as a result of Trade Deadline deals.

Blue Jays:

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fiers set for Astros debut Tuesday

Club optioning Velasquez to make room; Deduno to have hip surgery Tuesday

Fiers set for Astros debut Tuesday

HOUSTON -- Though he still hadn't met Mike Fiers in person, Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced before Saturday's 9-2 win over the D-backs that Fiers -- acquired along with Carlos Gomez in Thursday's trade with the Brewers -- will start Tuesday against the Rangers in Arlington.

Fiers' fifth day of rest is Monday, but Hinch said he wants to give Fiers an extra day off so he can get acclimated to Houston, throw a bullpen session with Astros pitching coach Brent Strom and have his focus squarely on baseball. 

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gomez puts tough Astros debut behind him

Center fielder goes 0-for-5, makes costly miscue in field

Gomez puts tough Astros debut behind him

HOUSTON -- Though his Astros debut didn't go as planned, Carlos Gomez remained upbeat and smiling in the clubhouse following Friday night's 6-4, 10-inning defeat against the D-backs, even taking the blame for the loss, which snapped Houston's seven-game home winning streak.

Gomez was talking about Welington Castillo's pivotal fly ball to right field in the sixth inning that he chased down, calling off right fielder Colby Rasmus. Gomez took a peek at Rasmus as he was running the ball down, though, and by the time he looked back up to the ball, he had overrun it -- a miscue, but not officially an error.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen can't hold lead in loss to D-backs

Bullpen can't hold lead in loss to D-backs

HOUSTON -- Welington Castillo and Jake Lamb launched back-to-back homers off reliever Pat Neshek to start the 10th inning and send the D-backs to their sixth consecutive win, 6-4, over the Astros in the series opener Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Jason Castro's blasted a three-run homer in the fifth and Carlos Correa followed with a solo shot two outs later to give Houston a 4-1 lead. Arizona, which improved to 50-51, rallied with a pair in the sixth after David Peralta and Castillo began the inning with back-to-back hits, and Peralta delivered an RBI single off Tony Sipp in the seventh to tie the game.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez's mistake denies Castro a chance

Astros first baseman caught off first base to end ninth

Gonzalez's mistake denies Castro a chance

HOUSTON -- Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez wasn't trying to make up for what was nearly a disastrous baserunning gaffe only moments earlier, when he didn't run hard out of the box and reached first only after D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson dropped the ball for an error to extend the inning.

With walk-off hero Jason Castro at the plate and a chance to win the game for the second straight night for the Astros, Gonzalez was eager to get into scoring position and wound up getting caught when he strayed too far from first, a play that punctuated the Astros' 6-4 loss to the D-backs at Minute Maid Park.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gregarious Gomez fits right in with Astros

Fiers to be activated Saturday, will join rotation

Gregarious Gomez fits right in with Astros

HOUSTON -- After he finished with a gaggle of reporters in his new clubhouse, Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez sought out Pat Neshek, an old nemesis in Gomez's National League Central days.

"I'm so glad I don't have to face you anymore," Gomez yelled, hugging the former Cardinals reliever whose held Gomez hitless in six career plate appearances.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The best Deadline acquisition? Carlos Gomez

New Houston outfielder potentially worth two additional wins in tight AL West race

The best Deadline acquisition? Carlos Gomez

Now that the 2015 Trade Deadline has passed with a flurry of deals and big names in the week leading up to July 31, which single deal was the best fit of the week? There's no obvious right answer to this, of course. If you're a Toronto fan who doesn't care about prospect cost, then the Blue Jays getting David Price and Troy Tulowitzki for a late run was exhilarating. The Royals found their long-needed ace in Johnny Cueto; the Dodgers rebuilt a pitching staff with Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Luis Avilan, and Jim Johnson (not to mention top prospect Jose Peraza) for essentially nothing more than cash, considering they'd only signed Hector Olivera a few months ago.   

Those are all fine options, and your team allegiances probably play a big part in which one you like. But what, we say, about the deal that brought the Houston Astros Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers? It's got everything you want in a Deadline deal, doesn't it? The Astros haven't been more than two games ahead of or behind the Angels since July 8, making every game vital. Both are upgrades over what they're replacing, Gomez particularly, and neither player is a rental, with Gomez signed through 2016 and Fiers through '20. It's the right kind of deal, from the most fascinating team possible -- the Astros, of course, haven't had a winning season since 2008.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros tried to get Chapman or Kimbrel

Team, players pleased with additions to first-place club

Astros tried to get Chapman or Kimbrel

HOUSTON -- The Astros made a strong push at landing front-line closers Aroldis Chapman of the Reds and Craig Kimbrel of the Padres right up to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, which ultimately passed without them being able to pull the trigger on another deal.

If the Astros were able to bring either to Houston, it might have made them the favorite to win the American League, but they still bettered their chances in the days leading up to the Deadline by adding left-hander Scott Kazmir last week and outfielder Carlos Gomez and starter Mike Fiers from the Brewers on Thursday.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs integral in Hinch finding way to dugout

Astros manager was on front-office track until unexpected offer in Arizona

D-backs integral in Hinch finding way to dugout

HOUSTON -- The calculated, cerebral facets of running an organization -- building a roster, mingling in a front office -- appeal to Astros manager A.J. Hinch, a Stanford graduate with a psychology degree. In fact, after seven years as a big league backstop, he sought to become a general manager.

Until a 2009 lunch date with then-D-backs GM Josh Byrnes that led to Hinch becoming the team's manager, he was on that trajectory.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fan at Astros game taken to hospital

HOUSTON -- A male fan laid unresponsive for more than 10 minutes in the stands before the Astros' 6-4 victory over the D-backs on Friday and was transported from Minute Maid Park to a local hospital, according to an Astros spokesman.

The fan was surrounded by paramedics and first responders, who appeared to be giving him chest compressions before he was transported.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castro walks off Astros for sweep of Angels

Castro walks off Astros for sweep of Angels

HOUSTON -- Jason Castro, who came into his ninth-inning at-bat with six hits with runners in scoring position this season, blasted a three-run walk-off home run to complete the Astros' sweep of the Angels with a 3-0 win Thursday night, giving Houston a two-game lead in the American League West.

Castro turned on Fernando Salas' 1-2 pitch to dispatch it into the right-field seats for the Astros' second walk-off home run of the season. Salas entered the game with two outs in relief of Jose Alvarez and surrendered a single to Marwin Gonzalez before Castro ended the game.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros add Gomez, Fiers from Brewers

Astros add Gomez, Fiers from Brewers

HOUSTON -- The Astros landed the right-handed bat and starting pitcher they coveted Thursday, striking a deal with the Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects -- outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, right-hander Adrian Houser and left-hander Josh Hader.

Gomez, 29, is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who was batting .262 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 74 games for the Brewers. He's a career .260 hitter with 99 homers and 387 RBIs in a nine-year career with the Mets (2007), Twins ('08-09) and Brewers ('09-15).

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With more zeros, Kazmir finishes stellar July

With more zeros, Kazmir finishes stellar July

HOUSTON -- Through no fault of either player or manager, A.J. Hinch doesn't know Scott Kazmir well.

Kazmir's been an Astro for just seven days. Hinch has somewhat of a rapport with his newest starter, but not nearly the bond he's formed with the other players he's overseen since Spring Training.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Astros' bold moves show future is now

Astros' bold moves show future is now

HOUSTON -- The day ended for the Houston Astros with one of those electrifying moments that makes the whole incredible ride feel magical. If things work out a certain way for this team, players and coaches might look back on Thursday and see it as another sign that something special is happening.

Catcher Jason Castro's three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning delivered a 3-0 victory that completed a three-game sweep of the Angels. With the sweep, the Astros -- a team that averaged 104 losses the past four seasons -- are 58-45 and leading the American League West over the Angels by two games.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hinch, Astros players excited to add Gomez

Hinch, Astros players excited to add Gomez

HOUSTON -- The Astros spent nearly the entire first half of the season in first place with a roster that saw a steady influx of young players, including hotshot rookies Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. Adding some veterans to the mix prior to the Trade Deadline can only bolster Houston's chances in the second half.

Moments after Jason Castro's walk-off homer to polish off a three-game sweep of the Angels on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park with a 3-0 win, Astros players said they welcomed the latest move -- a trade with the Brewers that landed outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hinch will ease Lowrie back into full action

Hinch will ease Lowrie back into full action

HOUSTON -- The return of Jed Lowrie to a jumbled Astros infield will be a gradual one, according to manager A.J. Hinch, who will try to balance four first basemen jockeying for playing time now that Lowrie occupies third.

Though Hinch said Lowrie, who started Thursday's series finale hitting fifth and playing third base, won't play every day initially, he maintained the best Houston lineup contains the eight-year veteran infielder who had been sidelined since late April with a torn ligament in his right thumb.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCullers pitches Astros back into first place

McCullers pitches Astros back into first place

HOUSTON -- The Astros moved into sole possession of first place in the American League West for the first time since before the All-Star break, beating the Angels, 6-3, on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park, behind a terrific outing from rookie Lance McCullers.

McCullers (5-3) gave up a run in the second inning before getting into a groove and setting down 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. In the meantime, the Astros chipped away, taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth on RBIs by Colby Rasmus and Jose Altuve. Preston Tucker would then homer in the sixth, and Jon Singleton blasted his first of the year in the seventh to make it 4-1.

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Alden Gonzalez and Brian McTaggart are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Singleton's 2nd-half turnaround a timely one

Singleton's 2nd-half turnaround a timely one

HOUSTON -- Battling to earn an everyday role for Houston, Jon Singleton entered Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Angels with 16 strikeouts, a .171 average and still in search of his first home run.

And with the imminent return of Jed Lowrie -- whom Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced will start at third base on Thursday -- Singleton's roster spot was in limbo.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillips, Reed mash for Double-A Corpus Christi

Astros No. 2 prospect goes 4-for-5; No. 8 prospect hits his Minor League-leading 28th homer

Phillips, Reed mash for Double-A Corpus Christi

Top prospects from the Astros and Padres turned a game between Double-A Corpus Christi and San Antonio into an old-fashioned Texas shootout.

A.J. Reed -- No. 8 on Houston's recently updated Top 30 Prospects list -- extended his Minor League lead by swatting his 28th homer of the season in a narrow 7-6 win for the Hooks. Reed finished 3-for-4 with the opposite-field solo shot and three RBIs.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve makes spectacular off-balance play

Altuve makes spectacular off-balance play

HOUSTON -- Though much of the Astros' defensive acclaim has shifted to rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, veteran second baseman Jose Altuve -- Correa's mentor -- stole some thunder Wednesday night.

Ranging to his right, Altuve dove for C.J. Cron's slow roller behind second base, secured the ball and fired a throw across his body, as he was falling down, to record the first out of the seventh inning and preserve rookie Lance McCullers' impressive outing.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve's aggressiveness pays dividends for Astros

Second baseman finishes with career-high 5 RBIs

Altuve's aggressiveness pays dividends for Astros

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve set a career high with five RBIs in Tuesday's 10-5 win against the Angels, beating his year-old record by one.

It was one he had to will to the plate.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wild West: Astros win slugfest, pull even with Halos

Wild West: Astros win slugfest, pull even with Halos

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve drove in a career-high five runs, and Carlos Correa and Chris Carter went deep as the Astros rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Angels, 10-5. The two clubs now sit tied atop the AL West.

Houston broke open the back-and-forth affair in the sixth, padding its tenuous 6-5 lead with four extra-base hits and four runs -- highlighted by Altuve's two-run double and Evan Gattis' seventh triple of the season. Eight of the nine Astros starters had hits, including four with multi-hit games.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Deduno, Peacock likely out for season

Deduno, Peacock likely out for season

HOUSTON -- Two lengthy disabled-list stints for Astros pitchers Samuel Deduno and Brad Peacock will likely be season-ending, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday.

Deduno, on the DL since May 14 with a lower right back strain, is set to have arthroscopic surgery on his right hip labrum next week, effectively ending his season.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.