Astros roll behind McCullers, Centeno's debut

Astros roll behind McCullers, Centeno's debut

HOUSTON -- Yuli Gurriel and Juan Centeno rocketed solo home runs off Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, and Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. eased through another scoreless outing, paving the way in Houston's 6-2 win over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Between Gurriel and Centeno's homers in the second and fourth innings, respectively -- traveling a combined 822 feet, according to Statcast™ -- Josh Reddick scored on Detroit third baseman Nicholas Castellanos' eighth error of the season. Castellanos added another error in the eighth, tying his season total from last year.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Astros on Tuesday.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keuchel, McCann eye Saturday for return

Keuchel, McCann eye Saturday for return

HOUSTON -- Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel and catcher Brian McCann are both on track to come off the disabled list Saturday, though manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday they have more hurdles to clear before they can be activated.

Keuchel, who was scheduled to start Monday's series opener against the Tigers, went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday (retroactive to Wednesday) with a pinched nerve in his neck. McCann was placed on the seven-day concussion DL on Sunday, a week after he was struck in the face mask by a foul tip in New York.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peacock fans 8 in strong start in place of ace

Peacock fans 8 in strong start in place of ace

HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock hadn't thrown more than 39 pitches in a game this year, while working as a reliever. Yet, in a spot start for Astros ace Dallas Keuchel (pinched nerve in neck) on Monday, Peacock allowed one hit and carved through the Tigers' power-happy lineup on 70 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, his longest appearance this season.

With more than half of his pitches (46) being sliders and two-seam fastballs, according to Statcast™, Peacock struck out eight and walked a pair, while contributing to a one-hit shutout and helping to end a three-game losing streak in a 1-0 win at Minute Maid Park.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paulino rolling since return from injury

Paulino rolling since return from injury

Here's a look at top prospects to watch in today's Minor League action:

Hitter to watch: Gleyber Torres (Yankees' No. 1), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Columbus (6:35 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)

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

30 dancing! 1-hit shutout lifts Astros to 30th win

30 dancing! 1-hit shutout lifts Astros to 30th win

HOUSTON -- It took stellar pitching, air-tight defense and one timely hit to get the Astros back on track Monday night at Minute Maid Park.

Four Astros pitchers, led by 4 1/3 innings from starter Brad Peacock, combined to throw Houston's first one-hitter in nearly four years and made Jose Altuve's first-inning RBI double stand up for a 1-0 win over the Tigers, snapping a three-game losing streak and becoming the first team in the Majors to reach 30 wins.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orbit messed with Lindor during stretches

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Orbit messed with Lindor during stretches

While Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor unsuspectingly went through his pregame stretching routine before a game in Houston over the weekend, noted prankster Orbit decided to pull up a spot right next to him and join in.

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Jankowski brought up, added to bullpen

Jankowski brought up, added to bullpen

HOUSTON -- After spending nearly 2 1/2 seasons at Triple-A, Jordan Jankowski's teammates were so excited he was finally getting called up to the big leagues, that they dogpiled him in the clubhouse after Sunday's game in Fresno.

"The guys kind of mobbed me afterward," Jankowski said. "[Infielder] Tony Kemp was probably the most excited guy in the clubhouse. It was pretty cool."

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez unhittable for Quad Cities

Perez unhittable for Quad Cities

After showing flashes of dominance during his first four starts, left-hander Cionel Perez put it all together on Monday for Class A Quad Cities with an unhittable performance.

The Astros' No. 16 prospect was electric in his best professional start, tossing seven hitless frames with 10 strikeouts, both career highs, as Quad Cities defeated Peoria, 5-1. He issued one walk en route to facing one over the minimum, while throwing 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes.

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

On concussion DL, McCann 'feels much better'

Astros catcher eligible to come off 7-day disabled list Saturday

On concussion DL, McCann 'feels much better'

HOUSTON -- Currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Astros catcher Brian McCann went through a 20-minute, monitored cardio workout Monday, and says he "feels much better" than he did Saturday, when he initially reported the issue.

On May 14, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge barely clipped a 97-mph fastball, which then smashed into the left side of McCann's facemask. Since the incident he believes caused the concussion, McCann has been behind the plate twice -- once in Miami last week and against the Indians on Friday.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen of the Week: Astros

Sipp solid in sub; Giles, Devenski, Peacock, Harris also stellar

Bullpen of the Week: Astros

So far this season, the Houston Astros are the best team in baseball. Despite a loss to the Indians on Sunday, Houston retains the best record in the Major Leagues at 29-15. The Astros are comfortably ahead in the American League West. And one good reason for that success is their relief pitching.

The Astros went 3-3 during a week that saw them experience some adversity in the form of staff ace Dallas Keuchel going on the 10-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck, but the relievers helped keep them afloat with stellar work. As a result, they have won the honor of "MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford."

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast a valuable piece in Astros' toolbox

Director of baseball ops Taubman praises influx of data

Statcast a valuable piece in Astros' toolbox

Major League Baseball's Statcast™ tracking system is changing how teams make their decisions, and the Astros are proof.

Houston's director of baseball operations, Brandon Taubman, joined the Astros' TV broadcast on Sunday to discuss the progression of the franchise and how the team will succeed in the future. Statcast™, he explained, is an important tool in that respect for the Astros, who have the Majors' best record at 29-15.

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

Four homers can't erase early deficit in finale

Four homers can't erase early deficit in finale

HOUSTON -- The Indians continued their dominance of the Astros, polishing off a three-game sweep of Houston on Sunday afternoon behind a career-high-tying five RBIs from Yan Gomes -- including a three-run homer -- in an 8-6 win at Minute Maid Park.

The three-game skid matches the longest of the season for the Astros, who went 1-5 against the Tribe this season. Every game in the season series had been close prior to Sunday, when the Indians rocked Astros starter Joe Musgrove (3-4) for seven runs on eight hits in three-plus innings and jumped to an 8-1 lead, before holding off the Astros late.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Indians on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Musgrove continues back-end rotation woes

Musgrove continues back-end rotation woes

HOUSTON -- The Astros' back end of their rotation -- Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers and Joe Musgrove -- surrendered 13 runs (12 earned) in 14 1/3 innings as Houston was swept for the first time this season, culminating in an 8-6 loss to the Indians on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

While Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. are a combined 11-1 with a 2.21 ERA this season at the top of the rotation, Morton, Fiers and Musgrove -- the struggling middle-to-back end of Houston's five-man starting corps -- are a combined 9-9 with a 4.99 ERA.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Houston Little Leaguer showed off title belt

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Houston Little Leaguer showed off title belt

There's a compelling argument to be made that our best days as sports fans come in childhood. In our youthful exuberance, every moment of every game serves as a potential source of joy and wonder. We don't care whether our team is good or bad; that sort of narrative is too long-term for a kid.

It's no surprise then that when Astros broadcaster Julia Morales paid a visit to a youth baseball team during the fifth inning of Sunday's 8-6 loss to the Indians the conversation was wide-ranging and full of excitement.

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Fiers' quality start not enough vs. Indians

Fiers' quality start not enough vs. Indians

HOUSTON -- Between what are two seemingly sure-fire American League postseason contenders, the Indians stole a second series win against the Astros with a 3-0 victory Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

Behind seven-plus shutout innings from starter Mike Clevinger, Cleveland (22-19) earned its fourth straight win against Houston (29-14); Clevinger didn't allow a hit until Jose Altuve's leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh. Cleveland has handed the Astros two of their three series losses this season.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Indians on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros searching for ways to top AL champs

Houston has lost 4 of 5 vs. Cleveland; all 5 games decided by 3 runs or fewer

Astros searching for ways to top AL champs

HOUSTON -- Perhaps the Astros will have better success against the Indians if they meet them this fall than they have so far in the regular season.

Behind seven-plus shutout innings from starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, the Indians beat the Astros for the fourth time in five games, 3-0, on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. The Astros have lost consecutive games for the first time since -- who else? -- the Indians beat them April 26 and 27 in Cleveland.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. 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 to DL with pinched nerve in neck

Astros ace expected to miss just one start

Keuchel to DL with pinched nerve in neck

HOUSTON -- After battling through left shoulder inflammation for much of last season, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel finally spoke up in late August and was shut down for the final month. He wasn't about to let another injury linger this time around.

The Astros placed Keuchel on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with a pinched nerve in his neck. He met with team doctors on Thursday in Houston and underwent an MRI, which showed inflammation of a nerve in his neck. He's only expected to miss one start, which means he could return to the rotation on May 27 to face the Orioles at Minute Maid Park.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tucker, Martin lead Buies Creek to victory

Tucker, Martin lead Buies Creek to victory

Astros prospects Kyle Tucker and Jason Martin have been swinging hot bats lately, and the trend continued Saturday as the duo led Class A Advanced Buies Creek to an 8-2 win over Down East.

Tucker, ranked as the Astros' No. 2 prospect and 30th on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, and Martin (Astros' No. 26) combined for five hits and five RBIs as the Astros won for the fifth time in six games.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Confusion reigned on Gomes' roof-scraper

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Confusion reigned on Gomes' roof-scraper

Baseballs can't just disappear. That's not how physics work in our reality. And yet, that seemed to happen during Saturday's Indians-Astros game at Minute Maid Park.

Yan Gomes hit a towering shot to left field off Astros pitcher Mike Fiers in the second inning. Norichika Aoki raced back to the wall ... and then ... poof. He had no idea where the ball was. The broadcast crew had no idea where the ball was. Gomes himself had no idea where the ball was. 

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Morton 'out of sync' in loss to Indians

Astros righty exits in 6th for third straight start

Morton 'out of sync' in loss to Indians

HOUSTON -- With all the talk about Astros pitcher Charlie Morton's increased velocity this spring and into the season, the veteran right-hander knows it doesn't mean much if he can't find a way to pitch deeper into games as the season progresses.

For the third consecutive start, Morton couldn't finish the sixth inning and wound up taking the loss in the Astros' 5-3 setback to the Indians. Morton (5-3) allowed four runs and eight hits -- including homers to Edwin Encarnacion, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall -- in 5 1/3 innings. Morton lasted 5 2/3 innings in his two previous starts.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reddick, Correa HRs unable to crack Bauer

Indians righty improves to 7-0 in 7 career starts vs. Houston

Reddick, Correa HRs unable to crack Bauer

HOUSTON -- Even when Indians starter Trevor Bauer isn't at his best, he finds a way to get the best of the Astros.

Bauer beat the Astros for the seventh time in seven career starts against them, and the Indians backed him with three homers to snap Houston's four-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory in the series opener Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Indians on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McHugh builds arm strength with long toss

Astros starter on DL since spring with elbow injury

McHugh builds arm strength with long toss

HOUSTON -- Collin McHugh has a timetable in his mind when he might be back on the mound to help the Astros, but the veteran right-hander is keeping it to himself. McHugh is still several weeks, if not a month or more, from being ready to pitch in games, as he continues his rehab from a posterior impingement in his right elbow.

McHugh made 20 throws at 60 feet and 20 throws at 75 feet on Friday and is building up arm strength without any setbacks. He said he will throw again off flat ground Saturday, marking the first time during the rehab process that he's thrown on consecutive days.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Astros targeting starter for trade?

Beat reporter Brian McTaggart answers questions from fans

Inbox: Astros targeting starter for trade?

HOUSTON -- The team with the best record in baseball will open a 10-game homestand on Friday against the Indians. The Astros (29-12) are baseball's biggest story through the first quarter of the season and rank first in the American League in runs scored and have the league's lowest ERA.

So with all that good stuff going on in Houston, let's open the mailbox and see what's on the minds of the fans:

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. 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, McCullers 'Team Up' for charitable night

Altuve, McCullers 'Team Up' for charitable night

HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. may seem like an unlikely pair. They're from different countries, play different positions and took different paths to the big leagues -- Altuve as a 16-year-old Venezuelan who wouldn't take no for an answer, and McCullers as the can't-miss son of a Major League pitcher who was a high Draft pick.

The two rising stars joined forces on Thursday night with several of their teammates at a charity event they organized called "Team Up for Kids and K9s," which raised money for respective their foundations. It was held at Tootsies, a designer women's clothing store.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Whitley dazzles for Quad Cities

Whitley dazzles for Quad Cities

Cody Reed crossed a pair of accomplishments off his career bucket list on Thursday night with a historic performance for Class A Kane County.

The D-backs' No. 19 prospect fired a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts and one walk in a 1-0 win over Quad Cities. The nine-inning shutout was the first of Reed's career and the first by a Cougars pitcher since Aug. 31, 2004. It also marked the 20-year-old lefty's second straight scoreless outing after he completed a then-season-high eight frames in his previous turn.

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

Minor Leaguer hits walk-off HR off moving truck

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Minor Leaguer hits walk-off HR off moving truck

After making his Major League debut last year, top Astros prospect A.J. Reed began this season in Triple-A Fresno -- with Houston bringing in Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and more, there just wasn't much playing time to go around. 

So far, Reed's making a pretty compelling case to be called back up to the Show: He's slashed .279/.391/.855 with 24 RBI in 38 games. But he knows that just hitting well won't be enough. It takes something extra to be a big leaguer. So, in the bottom of the ninth of Fresno's game against the Nashville Sounds on Wednesday, Reed didn't just hit a walk-off home run -- he hit a walk-off home run off of a moving truck.

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No way, Altuve: 2 triples, 2 doubles, 0 runs

2nd baseman first to accomplish feat since 2005

No way, Altuve: 2 triples, 2 doubles, 0 runs

MIAMI -- Jose Altuve's bat was already scorching hot on the road coming into Wednesday's series finale at Marlins Park, a 3-0 win that completed the three-game sweep over Miami. Houston's second baseman was already leading the American League with a .373 batting average on the road this season.

So it should have come as no surprise that Altuve became the first Astros player to hit two triples and two doubles in the same game. He delivered a run-scoring double in the first inning before slamming triples in the third and fifth innings, and he finished his 4-for-5 showing with another double in the ninth.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Astros on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.