Astros cruise to 9th straight win behind 5 HRs

Astros cruise to 9th straight win behind 5 HRs

HOUSTON -- Not even two more blasts by Nelson Cruz on the Mariners' four-homer night could sidetrack the soaring Astros on Saturday, as Houston roared from behind at Minute Maid Park for an 11-4 victory, the ninth straight win for the American League West leaders.

The Astros' 17-7 record matches their best 24-game start in franchise history -- also done in 1980 -- and the winning streak is their longest since 2006. Collin McHugh spotted Seattle a 3-0 lead as Cruz, Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino launched solo shots in the second, but the Astros responded with five homers of their own and rolled to their 13th win in the past 14 games.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marisnick races up Tal's Hill for amazing grab

Astros' center fielder robs Mariners' Morrison with inning-ending catch

Marisnick races up Tal's Hill for amazing grab

HOUSTON -- On a night when nine home runs flew out of Minute Maid Park, Jake Marisnick left an indelible impression with his glove.

The Astros' center fielder climbed the funky Tal's Hill that occupies the final 25 feet or so before the center-field wall in Houston, absolutely robbing Logan Morrison of an RBI extra-base hit to end the top of the sixth inning Saturday.

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

Astros go back-to-back twice in 5-HR party

Gattis, Rasmus go deep in third; Altuve, Valbuena follow suit in fourth

Astros go back-to-back twice in 5-HR party

HOUSTON -- After watching the Mariners blast three solo home runs in the second inning, including two in back-to-back fashion, the Astros managed to one-up them Saturday night in an 11-4 victory at Minute Maid Park.

"They post that inning and someone in our dugout says, 'Hey, we've still got 24 outs left,'" Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. They didn't need that many.

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

Hernandez looks to lead Astros to 10th straight win

Hernandez looks to lead Astros to 10th straight win

The Astros will be seeking a 10th consecutive victory when they wrap up a four-game series against the Mariners in a Sunday matinee at Minute Maid Park. Though it will be their seventh meeting already this season, it will be the last between the American League West rivals until mid-June.

Veteran lefty J.A. Happ, one of Seattle's biggest surprises in the first month, gets the start in the series finale. The team's fifth starter is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in four outings, including an April 22 win over the Astros when he gave up two runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.

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

Deduno to get second turn in Astros' rotation

Club looking to build right-hander's pitch count after his 4-inning spot start

Deduno to get second turn in Astros' rotation

HOUSTON -- Samuel Deduno will get his wish.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced the long reliever-turned-spot starter will start Wednesday against Texas on the heels of a strong four-inning outing Friday in a 4-3 win over the Mariners. Following that game, Deduno expressed a desire to further prove his credentials for Houston's unstable fifth spot in the rotation. Now, he'll get his chance.

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

Jake Marisnick pulls in one of the grabs of the year

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Jake Marisnick pulls in one of the grabs of the year

It may look awfully cool, but since Minute Maid Park first opened in 2000, Tal's Hill out in center field has claimed its fair share of outfielders who dare chase fly balls up the slope. Houston center fielder Jake Marisnick, though, cares nothing for your cruel ballpark design:

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Tucker headlines monthly Minor League awards

Outfielder named top Triple-A player in April; Correa claims Double-A honor

Tucker headlines monthly Minor League awards

HOUSTON -- It's a good time to be an Astro, and that extends beyond the first-place big league squad to every corner of the organization.

Entering Saturday, Triple-A Fresno is the only team in the entire Houston organization that doesn't lead its division, and the Grizzlies are only a game back of first place. That means the franchise's April Minor League Players of the Month, which the Astros announced Saturday, are some of the most accomplished at each level.

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

Astros hit three homers to win eighth straight

Astros hit three homers to win eighth straight

HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis, Jake Marisnick and George Springer hit home runs and Samuel Deduno delivered an effective spot start on Friday as the Astros beat the Mariners, 4-3, for their eighth straight win.

Gattis continues to warm up after a slow start, hitting his third homer, a two-run shot in the first off Seattle southpaw Roenis Elias. Marisnick added a solo shot in the second in support of Deduno, who threw four innings of one-run ball in his first start of the year before turning things over to the Astros' much-improved bullpen.

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve's 9th straight multi-hit game ties record

Second baseman joins Astros Hatcher, Alou in impressive feat

Altuve's 9th straight multi-hit game ties record

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve keeps finding his way into the Astros' record books.

The second baseman recorded two more hits in Friday night's 4-3 win against Seattle, giving him nine consecutive multi-hit games, tying the franchise record.

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

Astros prospect Moran fractures jaw

Astros prospect Moran fractures jaw

HOUSTON -- Even with a walk-off win at the big league level, the Astros organization got some dour news Thursday night when touted third baseman Colin Moran suffered a non-displaced fracture in his jaw at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Moran, the Astros' No. 6 prospect and a cornerstone of Houston's future infield plans, was sliding back into second base during the top of the first and an errant throw struck him in the neck area. He was immediately removed from the game.

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

ASG debate: Altuve deserves to take torch from Cano

ASG debate: Altuve deserves to take torch from Cano

We will be doing daily ASG debates until balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other good candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think!

Robinson Cano has been the American League All-Star starter at second base for five straight seasons.

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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.

Deduno, bullpen piece together Astros win

Fields stands out, recording all four of his outs via the strikeout

Deduno, bullpen piece together Astros win

HOUSTON -- When the Astros revamped a maligned bullpen this offseason, they probably had a game like this in mind.

With spot starter Samuel Deduno limited to four innings, it was the relatively rare sight of bullpen-by-committee that lifted a home-run heavy offense to a 4-3 win Friday night, the Astros eighth in a row.

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

Astros celebrate by throwing entire dugout at Altuve

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Astros celebrate by throwing entire dugout at Altuve

Don't look now, but the Astros have won 11 of their last 12 games and catapulted into first place in the AL West, thanks in large part to Jose Altuve. 

The Astros second baseman has enjoyed eight straight multi-hit games and helped his team immensely with a three-hit showing on Thursday. He capped it all off with a walk-off knock in extra innings: 

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Astros option Hoes, call up Chapman

Astros option Hoes, call up Chapman

HOUSTON -- The Astros called up lefty reliever Kevin Chapman and optioned outfielder L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Fresno following Thursday's 3-2 win over Seattle.

Manager A.J. Hinch attributed the move to "bullpen depth," since long reliever Samuel Deduno will get the start in Friday's contest as the fifth spot in the Houston rotation remains a fickle one.

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

Altuve's walk-off in 10th extends win streak

Altuve's walk-off in 10th extends win streak

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve singled in Marwin Gonzalez with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning on Thursday as the surprising Astros beat the Mariners, 3-2, recording their seventh straight win with a walk-off at Minute Maid Park that hiked their American League West-leading record to 15-7.

"There's an energy about this team when the game's on the line … it's just locked in," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "We had the right guy up at the end. Just a big win at home tonight, with a walk-off like that, I'm not sure you could script it much better."

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Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve sets tone with first walk-off of career

Astros star extends streak of multihit games to eight

Altuve sets tone with first walk-off of career

HOUSTON -- You could say it was just old hat for Jose Altuve by now, what with his eighth multihit game in a row.

But a walk-off hit signaled new territory, even for the reigning American League batting champ. With a one-out single off the left-field wall in the 10th inning that gave Houston an emotional 3-2 win, Altuve keeps expanding his collection of accomplishments. The walk-off knock was the first of his career.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Astros playing confident, exciting baseball

Astros playing confident, exciting baseball

One of the coolest things about this young baseball season is seeing how much fun the Houston Astros are having. They're not just playing winning baseball, they're playing exciting baseball. That's important, too, because that builds confidence and excites fans.

The Astros hit home runs and steal bases. They've got two of the best starting pitchers in the game and a lockdown bullpen. Defensively, few teams are better.

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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.

Lowrie to undergo surgery on right thumb

Astros shortstop will have torn ligament repaired Friday

Lowrie to undergo surgery on right thumb

HOUSTON -- The Astros confirmed before Thursday's game that injured shortstop Jed Lowrie will have surgery Friday in Houston to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb.

Other than that, the team was light on details, deferring to Lowrie's preference to wait until after the procedure, which will sideline the veteran until July.

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

Altuve seeking third trip to Midsummer Classic

Altuve seeking third trip to Midsummer Classic

SAN DIEGO -- Former Astros All-Stars Jose Altuve and Jason Castro are back on the ballot for this year's All-Star Game, which will be held July 14 in Cincinnati.

Joining second baseman Altuve, a two-time All-Star (2012 in the National League, '14 in the American League), and catcher Castro ('13 All-Star) on the ballot are first baseman Chris Carter, shortstop Jed Lowrie, who is out of action due to a right thumb injury, third baseman Luis Valbuena, designated hitter Evan Gattis and outfielders Jake Marisnick, Colby Rasmus and George Springer.

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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.

Consistent Keuchel carries Astros once again

Twelfth consecutive quality start helps Houston win 10th straight game with lefty on hill

Consistent Keuchel carries Astros once again

SAN DIEGO -- Astros ace Dallas Keuchel did something in the first inning Wednesday at Petco Park he hasn't done much of so far his year: he gave up a run.

Keuchel quickly took control of the game and sent down 23 of the final 24 Padres batters he faced, including 14 in a row after Matt Kemp's RBI double in the first, to lead the Astros to a 7-2 victory and series sweep, marking their sixth consecutive win and 10th in 11 games.

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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 leads charge with 7th straight multihit game

Reigning batting champ sets tone for Astros' lineup during outstanding stretch

Altuve leads charge with 7th straight multihit game

SAN DIEGO -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is making an early run at another batting title.

Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs in Wednesday's 7-2 win over the Padres at Petco Park for his seventh consecutive multihit game. During that stretch, Altuve is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with eight RBIs and a 1.163 OPS.

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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 reaches out to Gibson after Parkinson's diagnosis

Hinch reaches out to Gibson after Parkinson's diagnosis

SAN DIEGO -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he reached out to Kirk Gibson earlier this week following Gibson's diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Gibson was Hinch's bench coach when he took over the manager's job with the D-backs in 2009.

"Knowing Gibby, he will fight the fight as hard and as good as anybody," Hinch said. "It's a really sad day to hear about the struggles that are ahead for him."

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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.

Keuchel dominates to complete sweep, terrific road trip

Keuchel dominates to complete sweep, terrific road trip

SAN DIEGO -- Colby Rasmus hit a two-run home run and Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over eight innings Wednesday as the Astros finished a three-game sweep of the Padres with a 7-2 victory before a crowd of 21,824 at Petco Park. Houston has won six in a row and 10 of its last 11 games.

Keuchel (3-0) retired 23 of the final 24 hitters he faced. He allowed three hits, no walks and had four strikeouts, inducing a lot of weak contact. Keuchel's 0.73 ERA is the lowest in Astros history for a starting pitcher through five starts in a season.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. 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.

Appel, Correa linked by history, pursuit of Majors

Appel, Correa linked by history, pursuit of Majors

Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The 1990s Mariners and the current edition of the Nationals achieved what the Astros are striving for in 2016, or perhaps even sooner: to simultaneously have a pair of productive No. 1 overall Draft picks on their big league roster.

For now, Mark Appel and Carlos Correa appear happy to be working toward the Major Leagues together for a third straight season. Correa, Houston's top pick in 2012, and Appel, selected first overall in 2013, first played together in Class A Quad Cities (Midwest League) two years ago. They continued their cross-country tour in Class A Advanced Lancaster (California League) last season, and they were both assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas League) to start 2015.

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

Altuve, slugging trio lead Astros' prolific outburst

Altuve, slugging trio lead Astros' prolific outburst

SAN DIEGO -- The three sluggers the Astros have been counting on to provide their power -- Evan Gattis, Chris Carter and George Springer -- each went deep on Tuesday night, but that was only part of the fun.

The Astros enjoyed their biggest offensive outburst of the season, bashing 17 hits, including four by reigning batting champion Jose Altuve, en route to a 14-3 rout of the Padres at Petco Park. The Astros have won five in a row and nine of 10 games to improve to 13-7.

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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's injury won't speed Astros' plans for Correa

Lowrie's injury won't speed Astros' plans for Correa

SAN DIEGO -- Astros top prospect Carlos Correa is off to a terrific start at Double-A Corpus Christi, but the club isn't quite ready to call him up to the Major Leagues despite a thumb injury to starting shortstop Jed Lowrie that will keep him on the shelf until after the All-Star break.

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow did on Tuesday acknowledge, however, that Correa's performance is hard to ignore. Correa, ranked by MLB.com as the No. 3 prospect in the game, is hitting .400 with five homers, a triple, 11 doubles and 22 RBIs through 17 games for the Hooks.

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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.