Rasmus, Carter reward Hinch's faith

Rasmus, Carter reward Hinch's faith

SAN DIEGO -- After combining to go 0-for-6 with six strikeouts in the first six innings of Monday night's 9-4 win over the Padres at Petco Park, Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus and first baseman Chris Carter came through in the clutch in the eighth.

Rasmus and Carter shook off their terrible starts at the plate and delivered RBI hits during a three-run outburst in the eighth that snapped a 4-4 tie and helped the Astros to their eighth win in their last nine games. Rasmus' RBI single scored Jed Lowrie to make it 6-4, and Carter followed with an RBI double to left field.

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

Astros pull away from Padres for eighth win in nine games

Astros pull away from Padres for eighth win in nine games

SAN DIEGO -- The Astros scored six runs over the final three innings Monday night, breaking away for a 9-4 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 19,532 at Petco Park for their eighth win in nine games.

Jed Lowrie, Jason Castro and Colby Rasmus each hit home runs as the Astros (12-7) pulled away late after squandering two leads behind a solid Collin McHugh, who struck out five in six innings while dueling with Padres ace James Shields.

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

One inning costs McHugh a piece of Astros history

One inning costs McHugh a piece of Astros history

SAN DIEGO -- Had it not been for a two-out infield hit by Padres pitcher James Shields in the fifth inning Monday night, Astros right-hander Collin McHugh might have joined some select company.

McHugh gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings in a 9-4 win over the Padres, but didn't factor into the decision. He was trying to win a game in his ninth consecutive start, which would have tied him with Roy Oswalt (2002) for the longest stretch in team history.

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

Lowrie leaves Astros to have MRI on thumb

Lowrie leaves Astros to have MRI on thumb

SAN DIEGO -- Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie is scheduled to fly to Houston on Tuesday to undergo an MRI exam on his right thumb, which he injured while sliding home in the eighth inning of Monday night's 9-4 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

Lowrie said the thumb was sore and swollen, but cautioned he wasn't going to overreact until he got the results. Lowrie was on second base when he raced home on a single by Colby Rasmus, saying his knee stuck in the dirt and caused him to land awkwardly on his thumb as he crossed the plate.

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

Tucker blasts 8th dinger for Fresno

Houston's No. 15 prospect leads Minor Leagues in homers

Tucker blasts 8th dinger for Fresno

The hottest power hitter in the Minors is showing no signs of cooling off. Astros No. 15 prospect Preston Tucker hit his MiLB-leading eighth home run during Triple-A Fresno's 4-2 victory over Reno on Monday night.

Tucker has been terrorizing pitchers all April, and he now has 26 RBIs after adding two more against Reno. He has homered in three of his last four games, and his batting average also jumped up to .338 after a 3-for-4 night.

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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.

Hernandez seeks first win as Astros take on Padres

Hernandez seeks first win as Astros take on Padres

When the Astros face Tyson Ross and the Padres on Tuesday night at Petco Park, they'll try to do something they haven't done this year: win a game started by Roberto Hernandez.

Hernandez (0-2, 3.57 ERA) hasn't pitched poorly with two consecutive quality starts to his name. In fact, his ERA is his best through three starts since 2008. Meanwhile, Ross makes his fifth start of the season and first in his career against Houston. He's been very good at times but has scuffled with his command.

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

Waino injury sparks DH debate before Astros' Interleague set

Waino injury sparks DH debate before Astros' Interleague set

SAN DIEGO -- Astros starting pitchers will pick up the bats for the first time this season during the club's three-game Interleague series against the Padres at Petco Park. In light of the season-ending injury Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright suffered while trying to run out of the batter's box on Saturday, Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel thinks both the American League and National League should have the DH rule.

Keuchel, who will start Wednesday's series finale, has a unique perspective, considering he broke into the Major Leagues with the Astros before they switched to the AL prior to the 2013 season.

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

Hinch leads Astros into familiar territory

Hinch leads Astros into familiar territory

SAN DIEGO -- This week's series against the Padres marks a homecoming of sorts for Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who spent four years with San Diego before being hired by Houston at the end of last season.

Hinch, who moved his family from San Diego to Houston in the winter, joined the Padres in 2010 and worked for them until August 2014, serving in a variety of roles that included interim general manager. He was the assistant general manager when he resigned.

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

Astros call up red-hot Hoes, option Wojciechowski

Astros call up red-hot Hoes, option Wojciechowski

SAN DIEGO -- The Astros want to get rookie right-hander Asher Wojciechowski back on track and felt they needed an extra position player for their series against the Padres in a National League park, which led them to call up outfielder L.J. Hoes on Monday and option Wojciechowski to Triple-A Fresno.

Hoes was off a great start at Fresno, hitting .418 with a .458 on-base percentage and 12 RBIs in 15 games, including a five-hit game last week. He'll be used primarily off the bench as an extra outfielder.

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

Gattis breaks out, matches career-high four RBIs

Designated hitter hits go-ahead double in Astros' win

Gattis breaks out, matches career-high four RBIs

OAKLAND -- Evan Gattis matched his career high with four RBIs in the Astros' 7-6 victory over the Athletics on Sunday, but that does not guarantee him a spot in Monday night's night lineup at San Diego.

Gattis is Houston's designated hitter, which will not be in use in the National League city.

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Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gattis' ninth-inning double secures Astros' sweep

Gattis' ninth-inning double secures Astros' sweep

OAKLAND -- Designated hitter Evan Gattis drove in four runs, including two in the ninth against closer Tyler Clippard, to guide the Astros to a series-sweeping 7-6 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

Clippard offered up a leadoff single to Jake Marisnick, and Jose Altuve reached on a fielder's choice groundball to A's third baseman Brett Lawrie, who instinctively threw to second, even though Marisnick was already there. Following the Astros' double steal, Clippard struck out George Springer for the first out and intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, setting up Gattis' liner on a neck-high fastball to center field that went over the head of Sam Fuld, who slightly stumbled as he chased after the drive.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marisnick returns to Astros' lineup

Fields also ready after 2015 debut, Oberholtzer working way back to Majors

Marisnick returns to Astros' lineup

OAKLAND -- Outfielder Jake Marisnick returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two games of the Astros' series with the A's with a sore right leg.

Right-hander Josh Fields made his 2015 debut on Saturday with a scoreless inning and is good to go, and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, projected to be the club's fourth starter, is working his way back to the Majors.

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Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Veteran Feldman appreciates Astros' energy, improvement

Righty notches strong outing vs. A's, enjoys club's early success

Veteran Feldman appreciates Astros' energy, improvement

OAKLAND -- Houston right-hander Scott Feldman notices a difference in the clubhouse from last year to this year, and the feeling is contagious.

Feldman took a shutout into the seventh inning of Saturday's 9-3 victory over the A's as the Astros improved to 10-7, their best start in nine years.

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Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve, Springer go deep as Astros secure series

Altuve, Springer go deep as Astros secure series

OAKLAND -- Second baseman Jose Altuve hit a three-run home run, and the Astros beat the A's a second straight day, 9-3, on Saturday afternoon to secure a series victory at the Coliseum.

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie chipped in with two hits and as many RBIs against his former team, and right fielder George Springer hit a solo home run in the ninth, helping to provide plenty of support for starter Scott Feldman. The right-hander allowed three earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for Houston, which improved to 10-7 -- the club's best start since the 2006 squad went 12-5 through the first 17 games.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fields continues success in 2015 debut

Righty returns from groin strain to pitch scoreless inning vs. A's

Fields continues success in 2015 debut

OAKLAND -- Astros right-hander Josh Fields made his season debut on Saturday, pitching one scoreless inning in Houston's 9-3 win over the A's.

Fields, who had been sidelined with a right groin strain since Spring Training, looked right at home.

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Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel lowers ERA to 0.62 despite 'spotty' command

Not pleased about two walks, posts 9 scoreless

Keuchel lowers ERA to 0.62 despite 'spotty' command

OAKLAND -- Astros southpaw Dallas Keuchel might have started off Friday's wild 5-4 extra-inning win over the A's with nine scoreless innings, but he couldn't get his mind off of the two walks he issued.

Keuchel has developed a reputation of being something of a perfectionist on the mound, and he offered a glimpse of his high standards after the contest.

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Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros hold off A's in 11 for crazy finish

Astros hold off A's in 11 for crazy finish

OAKLAND -- Left fielder Robbie Grossman notched a go-ahead, two-run single off of A's southpaw Eric O'Flaherty in a three-run 11th inning, helping the Astros claim a 5-4 series-opening victory at the Coliseum on Friday evening.

It was a wild ending to a game that didn't see its first run until the 10th inning, when Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run, two-out double off of A's reliever Dan Otero. The A's came right back in the bottom of the frame against a familiar face in right-hander Luke Gregerson, getting a game-tying, two-run double from Josh Reddick, who unsuccessfully tried racing home when the ball got away from the plate.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fields back in the bullpen mix for Astros

Right-hander joins dominant relief corps

Fields back in the bullpen mix for Astros

OAKLAND -- Reliever Josh Fields joined the Astros on Friday after recovering from a strained groin he sustained near the end of Spring Training. In a corresponding move, which was announced by the team Wednesday night, Houston optioned infielder Jonathan Villar to Triple-A Fresno.

Fields, who posted a 4.45 ERA in 54 2/3 innings for the Astros last season, allowed two runs in six innings of rehab work with Fresno. The right-hander threw 36 pitches while recording two scoreless innings on Monday in his final outing with the Grizzlies. It was a lengthy rehab assignment that lasted 10 days, but Fields said he's happy to be back with the big league club.

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Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros' youth baseball initiatives go beyond the field

Urban Youth Academy, RBI program offer free instruction

Astros' youth baseball initiatives go beyond the field

HOUSTON -- The Astros have long had a commitment to youth baseball in the Houston area, something that's even blossomed in recent years with the opening of the Houston Astros Urban Youth Academy on the city's north side.

In addition to the Urban Youth Academy, Astros RBI is a free baseball and softball program funded by the Astros Foundation. What's more, the Astros Community Leaders program has renovated 18 youth fields in seven parks around the area in the past couple of years.

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

Hernandez puts up 'good effort,' but walk proves costly

Astros starter falls to 0-4 in last 6 starts vs. Seattle

Hernandez puts up 'good effort,' but walk proves costly

SEATTLE -- Astros starter Roberto Hernandez couldn't help but lament his two-out walk to Logan Morrison in the fourth inning Wednesday night.

Hernandez (0-2) had retired nine-of-10 batters, allowing a solo homer to Mike Zunino in the third, when an inning later he walked Morrison, who advanced to third on a Dustin Ackley single and scored on a Brad Miller single in the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Astros at Safeco Field.

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

Carter's first homer of season gives Astros hope

Carter's first homer of season gives Astros hope

SEATTLE -- Chris Carter came through with his first home run of the season in the seventh inning Wednesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field.

Carter's homer off J.A. Happ came on the same date and in the same ballpark as his first home run a year ago, setting the stage for his 37-homer season that ranked second in the Majors. He has 12 career home runs against Seattle, his second most against any team.

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

Hernandez takes tough loss as M's snap Astros' win streak

Hernandez takes tough loss as M's snap Astros' win streak

SEATTLE -- Veteran southpaw J.A. Happ picked up his first victory for the Mariners with 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball as Seattle snapped the Astros' four-game winning streak with a 3-2 win on Wednesday at Safeco Field.

Happ has been strong in three outings as Seattle's fifth starter and finally got rewarded as he evened his record at 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA by scattering eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harris proving to be valuable addition to bullpen

Houston claimed righty off waivers Nov. 3 from D-backs

Harris proving to be valuable addition to bullpen

SEATTLE -- Much was made in the offseason about the big-ticket additions to the Astros bullpen by signing Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Joe Thatcher -- moves that have paid dividends considering the bullpen has been one of the best in baseball so far.

But the first move came when the Astros claimed right-hander Will Harris off waivers Nov. 3 from the D-backs. He came to spring camp as a long shot to make the team, but an injury to Josh Fields gave Harris an opportunity that he's taken advantage of. He has been scoreless in his first five appearances with the Astros and 21 in a row since last season.

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

Altuve's double caps rally as McHugh wins 10th straight

Altuve's double caps rally as McHugh wins 10th straight

SEATTLE -- Collin McHugh racked up his 10th straight victory for the Astros as Houston rallied for a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night to remain in first place in the early American League West race.

McHugh allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA on the season and 10-0 since his last loss in July of last season. The Astros (8-6) overcame a 3-1 deficit with five runs in the eighth, capped by Jose Altuve's three-run double. The first run was unearned after an error on Robinson Cano opened the inning.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him his Mariners Musings blog. Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve finds redemption with bases loaded

Astros finally find a way to get clutch hits in eighth-inning rally

Altuve finds redemption with bases loaded

SEATTLE -- With one clutch swing of the bat Tuesday night, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve washed away two weeks' worth of frustration with the bases loaded.

After Jake Marisnick tied the game with a single in the eighth inning that was the Astros' first hit of the year with the bases loaded, Altuve followed with a bases-clearing double into the left-field corner to lead the Astros past the Mariners, 6-3, at Safeco Field.

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

McHugh had to battle to keep streak alive

Astros pitcher wins 10th straight, despite not having best stuff

McHugh had to battle to keep streak alive

SEATTLE -- He wasn't nearly as dominant as he was a year ago when he struck out 12 batters in 6 2/3 innings at Safeco Field in the game that changed his career, but Astros starter Collin McHugh battled through seven innings for his 10th consecutive win Tuesday night.

McHugh improved to 3-0 by holding the Mariners to three runs and seven hits in seven innings in the Astros' 6-3 come-from-behind win at Safeco Field. McHugh's 10-game win streak, which dates to last season, is the longest by an Astros pitcher since Wade Miller won a franchise-record 12 in a row in 2002.

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