MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Astros have financial supremacy in Draft

Houston has record total with 2 of top 5 selections, followed by Rockies, D-backs, Braves

Astros have financial supremacy in Draft

After an unprecedented three-year run of owning the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, the Astros won't get whomever they want this year. But they still have more spending power than any club.

Houston has an allocated bonus pool of $17,289,200 for the first 10 rounds. To put that amount in perspective, the largest bonus outlay by a team in a single Draft had been $17,005,700 by the 2011 Pirates, who paid a record $8 million to No. 1 overall choice Gerrit Cole and $5 million to second-rounder Josh Bell.

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Correa's mammoth blast among Tuesday's best in MiLB

Astros No. 1 prospect launches huge homer for Fresno; Velasquez fans eight for Hooks

Correa's mammoth blast among Tuesday's best in MiLB

With Chicago Cubs phenom Kris Bryant reaching the threshold for rookie eligibility on Monday, MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list received a makeover, with Astros top prospect Carlos Correa moving up into Bryant's vacated No. 2 spot.

The future Houston infielder then promptly showed why he deserves an elite ranking, blasting a 424-foot home run completely out of Fresno's Chukchansi Park as part of a 2-for-4 effort on Tuesday night. The 2012 first-overall Draft pick now has three homers and eight RBIs since being promoted to Triple-A Fresno on May 12.

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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.

Late innings bring out best in Astros' offense

Late innings bring out best in Astros' offense

BALTIMORE -- When the game is on the line late, the Astros' offense has a habit for thriving under pressure. It's happened so much this year that there has to be something behind it, something tangible to explain why the late innings bring out the best.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch can't put his finger on exactly what causes his offense to come alive in the seventh inning and later, but he was happy to see his team ride that formula to a 4-1 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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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.

Astros turn to McHugh in rubber match in Baltimore

Astros turn to McHugh in rubber match in Baltimore

The Orioles and Astros will play their last game at Camden Yards this season on Wednesday before Houston hosts Baltimore for a four-game series next week.

Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3, 2.82) will be on the mound for the Orioles and is coming off a start against the Marlins where he pitched only four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk in a no-decision. Jimenez will go for his second win in May.

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

Feldman finds success with grounders vs. O's

Right-hander induces three inning-ending double plays in victory

Feldman finds success with grounders vs. O's

BALTIMORE -- Astros starter Scott Feldman was good enough on Tuesday night to wriggle his way out of almost every jam he found himself in during his six-inning outing in a 4-1 win over the Orioles, but getting three double plays in the first three innings set the tone.

Feldman, a ground-ball pitcher, got Adam Jones (first inning), Delmon Young (second) and Manny Machado (third) to ground into inning-ending double plays. He also allowed the leadoff runner on base in the fourth and sixth and wound up giving up one run on a Chris Davis sac fly in the sixth at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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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.TV unveils new Web-based media player

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

Today's schedule features a staggered rollout of 15 games from lunchtime specials through late West Coast night action, and you are about to have another one of those MLB.TV moments that make you realize how far we have come since that first live video broadcast stream by a major sports league here in 2002.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is introducing its new Web-based media player (version 5.0), for those who currently subscribe or those who sign up now for MLB.TV Premium ($114.99 a year or $24.99 a month) or regular MLB.TV ($94.99/$19.99). You'll notice the difference right away as the HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros first in AL to 30 wins after beating O's

Astros first in AL to 30 wins after beating O's

BALTIMORE -- The Astros have won 30 games and May isn't over yet.

Houston, off to the best start in franchise history, used a solid start from Scott Feldman and two RBIs from Luis Valbuena to record a 4-1 series-evening win over the Orioles Tuesday night.

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

Top prospect Correa crushes ball out of stadium

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Top prospect Correa crushes ball out of stadium

According to MLB.com, Astros Minor Leaguer Carlos Correa is the No. 2 prospect in baseball. And according to this mammoth home run on Tuesday night, that ranking is very accurate.

Yes, completely out of the stadium, across the street and off of a building next door. That is some excellent power. 

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Altuve tops 2B in 1st All-Star ballot update

Altuve tops 2B in 1st All-Star ballot update

BALTIMORE -- Jose Altuve of the Astros is the leading the American League second baseman on the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot at his position in the first round of balloting totals released on Tuesday. Altuve's 1,301,754 votes are nearly double of Omar Infante of the Royals, who's in second with 715,345 votes.

Altuve, a two-time All-Star, is aiming to become just the seventh player (10th time overall) in Astros history to earn a fan-elected start, and the first to do so since Houston moved to the AL for the 2013 season. He would join Craig Biggio (1995-98) and Jeff Kent (2004) as Houston second basemen to earn a fan election.

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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.

Luhnow checks in with top prospects at Triple-A

Astros general manager gets closer look at Singleton, Correa

Luhnow checks in with top prospects at Triple-A

BALTIMORE -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow joined the team Monday after spending the weekend at Triple-A Fresno watching some of the organization's top prospects, including shortstop Carlos Correa and first baseman Jon Singleton, who's hitting .291 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs.

"We've got plenty of players there that could play a role up here this summer and it was good to connect with them," Luhnow said. "They've got a good thing going. They've got a really fun team and a lot of guys with Major League experience and a lot of guys that wish they were here in Houston with us and some guys that could be here this summer."

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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.

Keuchel handed first loss of '15 by Orioles

Keuchel handed first loss of '15 by Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce each hit two-run home runs to send Astros ace Dallas Keuchel to his first loss since last August in the Orioles' 4-3 win in the series opener on Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Joseph lined a 1-1 pitch in the second inning into the first row of left-field seats to put the Orioles ahead, 2-0, and Pearce sent the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning over the wall in right-center to put Baltimore on top, 4-3.

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

Keuchel allowing two home runs a rare sight

Astros ace entered start vs. O's having given up only one homer this season

Keuchel allowing two home runs a rare sight

BALTIMORE -- We're not used to seeing Astros ace Dallas Keuchel allow many hitters to get the ball into the air, much less send a couple of balls over the fence the way Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce of the Orioles did Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The two-run home runs by Joseph in the second and Pearce in the seventh off Keuchel, who had allowed only one home run in his first nine starts, were enough for the Orioles to sink the Astros, 4-3, and send Keuchel to his first loss since last August, snapping his eight-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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Vasquez on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Top phenom raised average 26 points, drove in eight runs

Vasquez on MLB Pipeline's 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.

Reports of Byron Buxton's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Plenty of Astros reach base, not enough score

Houston goes 1-for-11 with RISP during loss to Orioles

Plenty of Astros reach base, not enough score

BALTIMORE -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch liked what he saw at the top of the batting order Monday afternoon with George Springer and Jose Altuve going a combined 5-for-9 with two runs scored. It was what happened after they were on base that proved to be frustrating.

The Astros were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and squandered several chances in the early innings against the Orioles, who used a pair of two-run homers to win the series opener, 4-3, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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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.

Astros' offense getting it done in 7th or later

Houston leads the Majors with 81 runs scored after the 6th inning

Astros' offense getting it done in 7th or later

DETROIT -- When the game gets late, the Astros get going, and it happened again Sunday against the Tigers.

Jason Castro's two-run single in the seventh and Marwin Gonzalez's RBI single in the eighth gave the Astros 81 runs scored in the seventh inning or later this year, which is the best in the Majors. The next closest team is Oakland with 70 runs.

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

In a pinch, Tucker's HRs land him in record book

Prospect becomes first player in Astros history to hit two pinch-hit home runs in one series

In a pinch, Tucker's HRs land him in record book

DETROIT -- It took Preston Tucker only 13 games to put himself in the Astros' record book.

In the sixth inning of Houston's 10-8 win over Detroit on Sunday, Tucker's three-run pinch-hit home run was his second of the four-game series, making him the first player in franchise history with two pinch-hit home runs in a single series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Both tied their respective games, and both are the first two home runs of his young Major League career.

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

Tucker, Castro power Astros past Tigers

Tucker, Castro power Astros past Tigers

DETROIT -- Preston Tucker's second game-tying homer in four days and Jason Castro's go-ahead two-run single powered six unanswered Astros runs off Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers' bullpen, salvaging a four-game series split for Houston with a 10-8 win in Sunday's finale at Comerica Park.

A game that began with a 36-minute, eight-run opening inning seemingly had settled down with the help of Sanchez, who struck out 11 of the 27 batters he faced. With a 7-3 lead in the sixth inning, however, Sanchez alternated hits and strikeouts -- including Evan Gattis' leadoff homer -- until Tucker pinch-hit for Jake Marisnick as the potential tying run and sent a drive deep to right.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Chris Vannini 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

The Astros are a joy, and dangerous

The Astros are a joy, and dangerous

The Astros are an absolute joy to watch. That's surely one part of this season's sweetest and most improbable story. They have youth and energy, resilience and toughness. They have some confidence, too, growing day by day. Is there anything else?

Yes, there is. They're a simple team in a lot of ways. They hit home runs in bunches and play very good defense and hold onto leads when they get them. Isn't that a formula for success right there?

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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 gives Altuve 'mental day' in Detroit finale

Second baseman sits for first time in 2015

Hinch gives Altuve 'mental day' in Detroit finale

DETROIT -- Jose Altuve was out of the Astros' lineup Sunday for the first time this season, but manager A.J. Hinch isn't worried about any kind of slump.

Over the last eight games, Altuve is 3-for-32 (.094) with one walk and one RBI on a sac fly. But Hinch thinks nothing of it.

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

Astros halt Tigers behind McCullers, triple play

Astros halt Tigers behind McCullers, triple play

DETROIT -- Lance McCullers earned his first Major League victory in the same city where his father earned his next-to-last Major League win 25 years ago. His six quality innings, helped by a fifth-inning triple play, allowed the Houston Astros to piece together a go-ahead rally in the sixth for a 3-2 win over the Tigers Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.

McCullers (1-0), whose father, Lance McCullers Sr., pitched for the Tigers in 1990, survived an Anthony Gose RBI double in the third inning and a James McCann double and score in the fifth to toss six innings of two-run ball on six hits with an intentional walk and six strikeouts. He avoided add-on runs in the fifth when Jonathan Villar, Jose Altuve and Chris Carter turned a triple play on an Ian Kinsler grounder with Miguel Cabrera on deck.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros' triple play the turning point vs. Tigers

Astros' triple play the turning point vs. Tigers

DETROIT -- When Jonathan Villar has children, the Astros' utility infielder is looking forward to telling them about the Saturday afternoon he started a triple play in a 3-2 win at Comerica Park.

He imagines describing the scene: runners on first and second in the fifth inning with no outs, and Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler at the plate. Maybe Villar will remember how, in the moment before Kinsler swung at the 2-1 offering from Lance McCullers, he was itching for a ground ball to be hit to him.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCullers earns first MLB win in second start

Astros' prospect goes six strong innings vs. tough Tigers lineup

McCullers earns first MLB win in second start

DETROIT -- Lance McCullers is making a case to stay with the Astros and not get sent back to the Minors.

In his second career Major League start, McCullers gave up two runs on six hits over six innings to pick up his first victory in a 3-2 win over the Tigers on Saturday.

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

Watch the Astros turn a perfect 5-4-3 triple play

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Watch the Astros turn a perfect 5-4-3 triple play

Sure, it seemed like a problem when Astros starter Lance McCullers gave up a double and single in the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday's game against Detroit. It seemed even worse when the normally impeccable Jose Altuve committed his first error of the season, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

But the Astros just wanted to whet your appetite for the majesty to come.

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McHugh not happy after quality start

Righty allows three runs in seven innings, but gives up nine hits

McHugh not happy after quality start

DETROIT -- A quick glance at Collin McHugh's stat line Friday night shows a decent outing -- three earned runs over seven innings -- but the right-hander was not at all happy with his performance in the 6-2 loss to the Tigers.

McHugh allowed nine hits and one walk, giving up at least one hit in each inning of work. Asked about the night, McHugh was blunt.

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

One mistake costs McHugh, Astros vs. Tigers

One mistake costs McHugh, Astros vs. Tigers

DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez's three-run home run helped power Alfredo Simon through seven strong innings, sending the Tigers to their second straight win over the American League West-leading Astros -- and third straight overall -- with a 6-2 victory Friday night at Comerica Park.

Martinez's ninth home run of the year was a two-out shot that salvaged a third-inning scoring chance created by back-to-back singles from Jose Iglesias and Anthony Gose, the latter coming on a well-placed bunt to the right side. Astros starter Collin McHugh (5-2) overcame it to last seven innings, but Houston's high-power, low-average offense couldn't get him the lead back.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

McCullers has ability to close games

McCullers has ability to close games

Background
Right-hander Lance McCullers has made a rather quick rise through the Astros' organization. The club's No. 10 prospect was promoted to the big league club Monday after having spent parts of only four seasons in the Minors.

The son of former Major League relief pitcher Lance McCullers, the younger McCullers earned numerous honors and great recognition at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla. McCullers won't be 22 until October, and it's quite possible he could add strength to his 6-foot-2, 205-pound, highly athletic frame.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.