Velasquez handed hard-luck loss vs. Tribe

Velasquez handed hard-luck loss vs. Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Indians right-hander Corey Kluber continued to receive little in the way of run support, but he took matters into his own hands by shutting out the Astros over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 victory at Progressive Field on Tuesday evening.

Kluber struck out seven and walked two, scattering five hits. He entered the game receiving just 2.33 runs of support per start, worst in baseball, and the number only dropped. Kluber rectified that by holding his opposition scoreless for the second time this season to pick up his first win since May 28.

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

Astros option Velasquez to give him rest

Houston wants rookie fresh for 2nd half; McCullers pushed back to Sunday

Astros option Velasquez to give him rest

CLEVELAND -- With the innings piling up for young starting pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez, the Astros have talked for a couple of weeks about having to find ways to keep them fresh in the second half.

After Velasquez threw 6 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 2-0 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field -- the third consecutive start in which he's pitched into the seventh inning -- the Astros optioned the 23-year-old to Double-A Corpus Christi so he can rest during the All-Star break.

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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 progressing, but return date not set

Astros shortstop building up hand strength following thumb surgery

Lowrie progressing, but return date not set

CLEVELAND -- It's been 10 weeks since Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie went down with a ligament tear of his right thumb that required surgery. Lowrie is making slow and steady progress, but he still faces several hurdles before he can go on a Minor League rehab assignment.

Lowrie began taking batting practice in the hitting cage on flips while the team was in Boston last weekend, and he's been fielding grounders on the infield for about a week. The next step will be taking full-fledged batting practice from a coach, manager A.J. Hinch said.

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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.

Straily takes on Tribe in 2nd start with Astros

Straily takes on Tribe in 2nd start with Astros

Trevor Bauer, who held the Astros hitless for six innings and struck out 11 batters on April 9 in Houston, will start for the Indians in Wednesday's game against the Astros at Progressive Field.

Right-hander Dan Straily will start for the Astros in his second game since being called up from Triple-A Fresno. Straily, who allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings at Boston in his Astros debut on Friday, was 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA at Triple-A.

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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 joins Altuve on AL All-Star squad

Astros left-hander a candidate to start Midsummer Classic

Keuchel joins Altuve on AL All-Star squad

CLEVELAND -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch called lefty Dallas Keuchel hours before he took the ball Monday against the Indians and informed him he had made the American League All-Star team. It certainly came as no surprise considering the numbers Keuchel has amassed this year.

Keuchel, who kept the news secret until it was announced on television Monday night, then went out and picked up his AL-high 11th win of the season by holding the Indians to three runs in six innings in the Astros' 9-4 win in the series opener at Progressive Field.

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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 tries to eat his way into his batting helmet

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Altuve tries to eat his way into his batting helmet

Before Jose Altuve went up to bat in the first inning of Tuesday's Indians-Astros game, he glanced up at his helmet, took it off his head and attempted to answer one of humanity's age-old questions: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a batting helmet?

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Keuchel gets plenty of support in 11th win

Keuchel gets plenty of support in 11th win

CLEVELAND -- The Astros put their foot on the gas in the first inning and didn't let up, collecting 16 hits, including 10 against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, for a 9-4 series-opening victory at Progressive Field on Monday night.

"We swung the bats extremely well and I thought our game plan against Carrasco was great," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We executed it. We had three or four guys getting on base three or more times. When you have big nights like that out of multiple guys, it's usually a good sign. Good effort on the first game of the series against a good pitcher."

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August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Birthday bash: Tucker celebrates with 4 hits

Astros outfielder finishes a triple shy of the cycle

Birthday bash: Tucker celebrates with 4 hits

CLEVELAND -- Astros outfielder Preston Tucker celebrated his 25th birthday in style Monday night, setting a career high with four hits and finishing a triple shy of the cycle to pace a 16-hit attack in a 9-4 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.

Tucker, whose playing time has increased with George Springer on the disabled list due to a fractured right wrist, became the first player to get four or more hits on his birthday since Jacoby Ellsbury on Sept. 11, 2012. The only other Astros player to do it was Jeff Bagwell vs. the Cardinals on May 27, 2003.

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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.

Late surge propels Altuve to start in ASG

Late surge propels Altuve to start in ASG

BOSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will start for the American League in the All-Star Game on July 14 in Cincinnati after winning fan balloting at his position. He'll be the first Astros position player since Lance Berkman in 2008 to start the Midsummer Classic.

"I mean, it's pretty good," Altuve said. "I really appreciate everything the fans do for me and the whole organization, putting all the things to win the fan vote."

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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.

Valbuena day to day due to sprained toe

Astros third baseman aggravated injury on hard slide into home

Valbuena day to day due to sprained toe

CLEVELAND -- Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena is listed as day to day and was unavailable for Monday's series opener against the Indians after an X-ray performed at Progressive Field revealed a sprained left big toe.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Valbuena has been dealing with the issue on and off for a few weeks, and Valbuena aggravated it when he slammed into the catcher sliding home on Sunday in Boston.

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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.

Bullpen unable to hold late lead in finale

Bullpen unable to hold late lead in finale

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez belted a two-run homer to left that just cleared the Green Monster with one out in the seventh that led the Red Sox to a comeback 5-4 victory over the Astros in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday at Fenway Park.

David Ortiz, who has struggled mightily against lefties this season, worked a key walk against Tony Sipp to set up Ramirez's homer. It was Ortiz's second walk against a lefty this season. Ramirez's homer erased the bitter taste that occurred in the top of the seventh, when Alexi Ogando surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to Carlos Correa and then a go-ahead solo shot by Evan Gattis.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Marisnick makes stellar grab on the run

Marisnick makes stellar grab on the run

BOSTON -- Welcome back, Jake Marisnick.

Playing his first game since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, the center fielder made one of the best catches of the season in the Astros' eventual 5-4 loss when he followed a long run with a leaping grab while crashing into the Green Monster for the final out of the sixth inning to rob Brock Holt of extra bases.

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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 cognizant of young starters' workloads

Astros cognizant of young starters' workloads

BOSTON -- As the season progresses, the Astros are going to be keeping close tabs on the workload of their starting pitchers, especially rookie right-handers Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez. They're both on pace to shatter their career-high marks for innings pitched.

The Astros are poised to be in the playoff race into September, so they won't be in a position to shut either one down and will have to get creative. General manager Jeff Luhnow said one option could be going to a six-man rotation once rosters are expanded in September.

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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.

Best highlights for the AL All-Star starting lineup

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Best highlights for the AL All-Star starting lineup

If you thought the Fourth of July was full of fireworks, just wait until July 14 in Cincinnati when baseball's biggest stars converge at Great American Ballpark for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. 

And with home-field advantage in the Fall Classic on the line, you can be sure that the Junior Circuit is going to send the best of their best to Cincy. We're talking guys on pace for 50 homers, guys on pace 50 steals, rookies, veterans ... the best of the best regardless of how they get it done.

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Crane: Astros trying to trade for starter

Crane: Astros trying to trade for starter

BOSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane, who's in town for the team's series against the Red Sox, said in an exclusive interview Saturday with MLB.com the club is prepared to pull the trigger on a trade to land a starting pitcher if they can find the right deal. The Astros are likely to acquire a starter, which is not surprising, and Crane said the club is working hard at doing so.

Among the starting pitchers the Astros have checked in on are Scott Kazmir, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija. Houston's deep farm system puts it in prime position to make a run at landing a starter to bolster a rotation anchored by Dallas Keuchel.

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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.

Offense struggles against Buchholz

Offense struggles against Buchholz

BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz continued his mastery of the Houston Astros -- and his recent dominance against everyone -- by firing a gem on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, leading the Red Sox to a 6-1 victory.

The righty went the distance for his ninth career complete game and was one strike away from a shutout.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. 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.

Singleton slips, knocks ball to McHugh for out

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Singleton slips, knocks ball to McHugh for out

When Mike Napoli hit a soft grounder to the right side during the Astros-Red Sox game on Sunday, Houston first baseman probably figured he'd have a pretty routine play to make. Little did he know, the turf monster had other ideas, forcing him to, uh, improvise? Sure, let's go with that. 

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McHugh struggles with mechanics in loss

McHugh struggles with mechanics in loss

BOSTON -- Collin McHugh's fastball command was sporadic, especially early. That forced the Astros right-hander to rely more on his cutter and his curveball, and it turned out to be bad news against an opportunistic Red Sox lineup.

McHugh's three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park when he was hit for four runs (three earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 6-1 loss that snapped the Astros' five-game winning streak.

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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.

Marisnick set to return to Astros' roster

Marisnick set to return to Astros' roster

BOSTON -- The ailing Astros took another step towards getting healthier, as manager A.J. Hinch announced after Saturday's 6-1 loss to the Red Sox that outfielder Jake Marisnick would be activated from the 15-day disabled list and be available Sunday.

Marisnick, who has been out with a strained left hamstring, played three rehab games for Triple-A Fresno, going 2-for-12. He played nine innings Friday night in El Paso and had a three-run triple and a pair of walks, so his leg appears to be in good shape.

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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.

Correa's big hits help Astros outslug Boston

Correa's big hits help Astros outslug Boston

BOSTON -- Carlos Correa had a memorable Fenway Park debut, belting three hits, including an RBI single that put the Astros ahead for good in a 12-8 victory over the Red Sox in 10 innings on Friday night.

It was Correa's solo shot over the Green Monster against Craig Breslow in the eighth that gave Houston an 8-7 lead. But David Ortiz answered with a double that took a funny bounce off the Monster in the bottom of the eighth, scoring Xander Bogaerts from first.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Carter makes heads-up throw ... for 4th out

Carter makes heads-up throw ... for 4th out

BOSTON -- Three outs is enough to escape an inning in baseball. Astros first baseman Chris Carter made sure his team had one extra in the seventh of Friday night's 12-8 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

With runners at first and third base and two outs, Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan grounded out to third base to end the inning, but Carter threw across the diamond as Alejandro De Aza was heading to third. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa tagged out a sliding De Aza, and third-base umpire Laz Diaz signaled for an out as De Aza asked how many outs there were in the inning.

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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.

Santana's own swipe can help fans steal a home

Quicken Loans sweepstakes offers chance to win mortgage payment valued at up to $1,500

Santana's own swipe can help fans steal a home

Aggressive baserunning by the Astros on Friday capped a four-run 10th inning in a 12-8 win over the Red Sox, but it could pay even greater dividends for a lucky fan, thanks to the Quicken Loans "Steal A Home" program.

• Quicken Loans: Steal a Home Sweepstakes

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

Correa displays clutch gene in Fenway debut

Correa displays clutch gene in Fenway debut

BOSTON -- There's not much 20-year-old rookie phenom Carlos Correa can do anymore to surprise anyone, especially Astros manager A.J. Hinch and his teammates.

Correa continues to try to push the barrier of remarkable feats, though, and did so again in Friday's 12-8 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park when he bashed a temporary go-ahead home run in the eighth inning before driving in the game-winning run with an RBI single in the 10th.

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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.

Harris' big outs help elevate Astros over Red Sox

Houston reliever has notched scoreless outing in 8 of last 9 appearances

Harris' big outs help elevate Astros over Red Sox

BOSTON -- On a day when the Astros' stellar bullpen was anything but, right-hander Will Harris came through with three of the biggest outs in a 12-8, 10-inning win over the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park.

Harris came into the game in about as much as a pressure-cooker situation as you could get. The Red Sox had the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh inning, with the Astros clinging to a tenuous 7-6 lead in a back-and-forth game. He limited the damage to one run in an inning where it could have been much worse.

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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.

FBI concludes investigation on Astros breach

Organization reportedly recommends charges against at least one Cards employee

FBI concludes investigation on Astros breach

ST. LOUIS -- The FBI's investigation into an unauthorized entry into the Houston Astros' database has concluded, and federal investigators have recommended that at least one Cardinals employee be charged, CNN reported on Friday. The report did not identify that employee.

The Cardinals have been under investigation by the FBI and Justice Department for several months regarding the matter. According to The New York Times, which broke the story on June 16, evidence was found that at least one Cardinals employee illegally accessed a database that contained internal discussions of trades and scouting reports.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Injured Springer ready to support teammates

Injured Springer ready to support teammates

BOSTON -- Astros outfielder George Springer walked from the clubhouse to the field about two hours prior to Friday's game at Fenway Park while singing in unison with teammate Jose Altuve. Springer is out for six weeks with a fractured right wrist, but his large presence on the team remains.

Wearing a soft cast that bore the signature of several of his teammates and manager A.J. Hinch, Springer spoke about the disappointment of not being able to play, noting that it's important he travels with the club to show his support for his teammates.

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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.

Presley joins banged-up Astros for depth

Outfielders Marisnick, Rasmus nearing conclusion of rehab stints

Presley joins banged-up Astros for depth

BOSTON -- The Astros' outfield depth is being put to the test with two starters -- Jake Marisnick and George Springer -- on the disabled list and part-time starter Colby Rasmus having spent three days in the hospital because a skin infection caused by some sort of bite.

Veteran outfielder Alex Presley joined the team Friday and started in center field after spending the entire first three months of the season at Triple-A Fresno. Marisnick, who was scheduled to play his third and final rehab game for Fresno on Friday, is expected to join the club Sunday in Boston. Rasmus was cleared to play Friday and could start Saturday.

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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.

Hot start nets Correa monthly AL rookie honor

Astros shortstop debuted June 8, batted .287 with 5 HRs, 15 RBIs

Hot start nets Correa monthly AL rookie honor

HOUSTON -- Astros shortstop Carlos Correa on Thursday was named American League Rookie of the Month for June.

Correa, who made his Major League debut on June 8, hit .287 with nine doubles, five home runs, 15 RBIs, four stolen bases and a .543 slugging percentage in his 21 games in the month. Among AL rookies in June, Correa ranked first in OPS (.852), doubles, RBIs and in slugging percentage. Additionally, he ranked tied for first in home runs and third in hits and in batting average.

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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.