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.

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.

Feldman gets nod in Interleague opener vs. D-backs

Feldman gets nod in Interleague opener vs. D-backs

Arizona starter Rubby De La Rosa seeks his third straight win when the D-backs and Astros open a three-game Interleague series Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Houston counters with righty Scott Feldman, who is winless in his past two starts but lasted 7 2/3 innings while allowing just one run in a no-decision Saturday against the Royals. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the D-backs.

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Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Astros hope to make another deal before Deadline

Astros hope to make another deal before Deadline

HOUSTON -- After losing out on Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who was traded to the Rangers on Wednesday night, the Astros remain hopeful they can make another trade prior to Friday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Deadline.

Hamels and the Astros had multiple conversations throughout the day Tuesday, according to a baseball source, but the coveted lefty was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause, blocking a deal to Houston. Instead, the Rangers get him for three years in a blockbuster deal.

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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.

Lowrie set to return to lineup, will play third base

Lowrie set to return to lineup, will play third base

HOUSTON -- Without making a trade, the Astros will add an impact bat to their lineup for Thursday night's series finale against the Angels when infielder Jed Lowrie is activated from the disabled list for the first time in more than three months.

Lowrie, who had to have surgery after tearing a ligament in his thumb, sliding into home plate April 27 in San Diego, will start at third base. He began the season as the starting shortstop, but the emergence of rookie Carlos Correa has forced the Astros to find somewhere else to play Lowrie, a switch-hitter.

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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.

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.

Writing's on the wall: Biggio visits plaque

Plaque to be displayed at Minute Maid Park on Aug. 22

Writing's on the wall: Biggio visits plaque

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- If delivering his acceptance speech before a crowd of 45,000 fans on Sunday after wasn't enough to allow the reality to sink in for Craig Biggio that he had reached the Baseball Hall of Fame, seeing his plaque hanging in the museum's plaque gallery did the trick.

Biggio and his family got a chance to see the bronze plaque hanging in the gallery for the first time Monday morning, posing for pictures and smiling from ear to ear while coming to the realization he was now immortalized among the game's greats.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Correa, Altuve, Springer among top 25-and-unders

Correa, Altuve, Springer among top 25-and-unders

If we had to pinpoint the one theme of this 2015 season that stands out above all others, it's unquestionably the dominating impact and the infusion of youth on the Major League scene. Never was this more evident than on Monday night when 23-year-old Cubs rookie Kris Bryant cracked his first career walk-off homer into the Wrigley Field bleachers to give the Cubs a dramatic 9-8 win against the Rockies.

And just an hour or so before Bryant's blast landed, the mere suggestion that the Dodgers might consider trading 24-year-old Yasiel Puig turned social media upside down.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Biggio brings class, dignity to Hall induction

First Astro to be enshrined acknowledges many, becomes emotional when thanking late parents

Biggio brings class, dignity to Hall induction

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- During his 20-year playing career, former Astros second baseman Craig Biggio forged his way into the hearts of baseball fans in Houston with his hustle, his talent and the pride in which he wore the uniform and respected the game.

And on a warm Sunday afternoon before 45,000 fans -- many of whom were wearing orange Astros jerseys -- Biggio's success on the baseball field earned him the ultimate honor, induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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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 calls Biggio an icon in Astros' history

Hinch calls Biggio an icon in Astros' history

KANSAS CITY -- If Craig Biggio's Hall of Fame speech had been earlier in the day, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he would have shut things down in the clubhouse so that everyone could have seen it live.

But by the time Biggio got to the podium on Sunday in Cooperstown, the Astros were in the bottom of the first inning in their series finale against the Royals. Time to take care of business on the field, as Biggio always did. The videotape will be there for the manager, coaches, players and support staff to savor when the time is right.

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

Astros reschedule Taylor Swift concert

Show moved to Sept. 9 to prevent potential conflict with playoffs

Astros reschedule Taylor Swift concert

The MLB playoffs have upstaged Taylor Swift. To prevent a conflict between any potential postseason games in Houston and the pop star's previously scheduled concert at Minute Maid Park, the Astros have rescheduled Swift's Oct. 13 show for Sept. 9.

"As a concert and special event venue, Minute Maid Park is committed to providing the best experience to not only Astros fans, but to the fans of all of the artists that perform at the ballpark," the Astros said in a release. "The new show date will ensure that fans of Taylor Swift will have every opportunity to see her perform at Minute Maid Park, as the Sept. 9 date does not conflict with any potential postseason baseball."

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lowrie could return before end of homestand

Infielder getting reps at third for Double-A Corpus Christi

Lowrie could return before end of homestand

HOUSTON -- After he plays in his fifth game of a rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi tonight, Jed Lowrie will return to Houston to be re-evaluated, in hope he can join the club before the end of this six-game homestand.

"We're still hopeful that at the end of this homestand, or very quickly, we'll have a chance to maybe get him back," manager A.J. Hinch said.

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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

Jonathan Mayo

Hernandez named to Prospect Team of the Week

Reed goes from Royals to Reds in Cueto deal after impressive performance

Hernandez named to Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

Players aren't just playing for their parent organization when on the field. Every game can be considered an audition for 29 other teams.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Biggio among quartet inducted into Hall

Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio take their places in Cooperstown

Biggio among quartet inducted into Hall

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- For anyone who has been there to make the comparison, Sunday's induction ceremony for the National Baseball Hall of Fame was much like a World Baseball Classic contest with the defending-champion Dominican Republic participating.

Dominican flags were waving in clusters as the rhythmic sound of cymbals clanging and congas beating resounded throughout the grounds behind the Clark Sports Center.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel attributes his tough start to bad luck

Keuchel attributes his tough start to bad luck

KANSAS CITY -- The stat line didn't look good, but All-Star left-hander Dallas Keuchel insisted he wouldn't change much about Sunday's outing against the Royals.

Keuchel equaled a season high by surrendering five runs, all in the opening two innings. He allowed a season-high 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings in the Astros' 5-1 loss at Kauffman Stadium. But for a ground-ball pitcher who strives for weak contact, Keuchel goes beyond such numbers to assess his performances.

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

Keuchel, Astros hurt by Royals' four-run first

Keuchel, Astros hurt by Royals' four-run first

KANSAS CITY -- Omar Infante and Cheslor Cuthbert each came through with two-out, two-run hits in the first inning and Yordano Ventura delivered seven strong innings to lift the Royals to a 5-1 win over the Astros on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals (59-38) took two of three in the weekend series while scoring all five runs in the opening two innings against American League All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel, who came in with an AL-best 2.12 ERA. The five runs allowed equaled the highest total Keuchel has surrendered this season.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros fans drive 25 hours straight for HOF induction

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Astros fans drive 25 hours straight for HOF induction

Cooperstown is teeming with Astros fans who haven't let a little thing like distance deter them from watching the first and, so far, only Astro to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Thanks to four Astros fans who are here this weekend to salute Craig Biggio -- Jeffrey Fountain, Jennifer Fountain, Lauren Ward and Jason Plotkin -- we now know exactly how long it takes to drive from Houston to Cooperstown while making no overnight stops to sleep: 25 hours.

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