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Carter's clutch homer helps Astros sink A's

Slugger belts towering three-run shot in eighth to down former team

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HOUSTON -- Chris Carter squared the ball up about as perfectly as one anyone could and would have literally sent the pitch from Oakland reliever Luke Gregerson out of sight had the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park not been closed on a steamy hot day.

Carter, who typically plays without showing any emotion, knew it was gone, too, taking a brief moment to admire his mammoth three-run blast in the eighth inning Tuesday night before circling the bases and eventually celebrating a 4-2 win over the A's.

"I was kind of joking with him," starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel said. "I said, 'Dang, you really watched that one.' It reminded me of Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox back in the day."

Carter is putting on the kind of power display that would make Ramirez take note. His go-ahead homer in the eighth inning against his former team was his 32nd of the season, giving him 19 home runs and 47 RBIs since July 1. It was also his second game-winning homer in a week, joining his three-run, tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning against the Yankees a week earlier.

Carter's five long balls off the A's are his most against any team.

"It's nice to come in clutch late in the games right there, down a couple runs or whatever," said Carter, whose homer traveled 439 feet over the railroad tracks above left field.

The homer quickly turned the emotions for the Astros, who had been shut down through seven innings by A's starter Jason Hammel. He held the Astros to one run and three hits before turning the ball over to Gregerson in the eighth.

The eighth-inning rally didn't even begin with a hit. Robbie Grossman hustled down the line and wound up being safe on an error when Stephen Vogt dropped a ball at first. Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch to put runners for first and second for Carter.

"That situation was created because Robbie Grossman busted down the line," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They made the error, we were able to capitalize. But Chris Carter, I'll tell you what, he's putting together some kind of season. And the home runs are getting bigger and bigger."

Gregerson tried to throw a sinker down and away, but it came back across the plate into Carter's "happy zone," as Porter likes to call it.

"Not necessarily a bad location for a lot of guys, just not for him," Gregerson said. "One pitch can change the entire dynamic of the game."

And the mood of a team.

"Thankfully, Carter continued his power surge or we'd be kind of moping in here," Keuchel said. "It was nice of Carter to do that."

Keuchel, who lost a complete game Thursday when Brandon McCarthy threw a shutout for the Yankees, held the A's to two runs (one earned) and five hits in seven innings and was in line for a loss before Carter's heroics.

"He was vintage Dallas Keuchel," Porter said. "Seven strong innings, quality start, have us right there in position to win the ballgame and he continues to put together a great season."

Josh Fields (4-6) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win, and Chad Qualls worked the ninth for his 15th save.

"Obviously, I've had my trials and tribulations with Oakland this year, so it's nice to go out there and lock this one down for us," he said. "It was a big-time home run. Down one run and they've got Luke on the mound and I know he's been solid his whole career. Big-time home run for Chris and big win for the team all around."

The A's scored an unearned run in the first when Keuchel was charged with an error trying to field a bunt off the bat of Craig Gentry, who eventually scored on a Jonny Gomes single. They took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI double by Nate Freiman that scored Gomes.

The only run the Astros managed off Hammel came in the fourth inning when Dexter Fowler led off with his eighth homer of the season to cut the lead to 2-1. The 146 homers by the Astros are two shy of their total from last year.

"What I love right now is that we're pitching well and we're in each and every ballgame," Porter said. "As long as we continue to pitch, continue to play defense, when the offense does click, we have an opportunity to go on a really good run."

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Appel among Astros prospects set for Fall League

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HOUSTON -- Former No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel, fellow right-handed pitcher Vincent Velasquez and third baseman Rio Ruiz headline the Astros' contingent of prospects who will play in the Arizona Fall League this year. The rosters were unveiled Tuesday.

Joining Appel, Velasquez and Ruiz on the Salt River Rafters team are left-hander Mitch Lambson, right-hander Tyson Perez, catcher Tyler Heineman, infielder Joe Sclafani and outfielder Andrew Aplin. Sclafani is a member of the taxi squad, which means he's activated on only Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Appel is ranked by MLB.com as the team's No. 2 prospect, and he's No. 44 on the list of the game's Top 100 Prospects. Velasquez (eighth), Ruiz (ninth) are also ranked in the Top 20.

"We've got some of our top prospects that need some innings, and what better place to send them to Arizona to showcase their skill set while they continue to develop their talents," farm director Quinton McCracken said.

Appel, who missed all of Spring Training and the early part of 2014 while recovering from an appendectomy, struggled at Class A Lancaster (2-5, 9.74 ERA) before being moved up a month ago to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he's pitched better by going 1-2 with a 3.15 ERA in six starts.

On Tuesday night, Appel struck out 10 batters in eight-plus scoreless innings to lead Corpus Christi to a 1-0 victory against Frisco. He pitched into the ninth inning for the first time in his professional career.

"He has some innings left in him and we just want to see him pick up extra innings so he keeps that level of innings pitched on the year and continue his development as far as keeping the ball down in the zone and throwing strikes and continue with the momentum he's had in Double-A Corpus for us," McCracken said.

Ruiz, a fourth-round pick in 2012, was hitting .297 with a .389 on-base percentage, 11 homers and 73 RBIs for Lancaster. Velasquez, a second-round pick in 2010, is 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 13 games for Lancaster, allowing 31 hits, 19 walks and striking out 65 in 51 innings.

The Rafters, who will play home games at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, include prospects from the Astros, D-backs, Marlins, Rockies and Twins. The six-team league, which is owned by Major League Baseball, begins play on Oct. 7.

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Qualls claimed but likely to stay in Houston

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HOUSTON -- The Tigers may have claimed Astros closer Chad Qualls off waivers, but don't expect the right-hander to be reunited with former teammate Brad Ausmus. Qualls said Tuesday he was aware of the claim put in by the Tigers and maintained he'd like to remain in Houston.

MLB Network first reported Tuesday morning that Detroit had the primary claim on Qualls. That followed FOX Sports' report Monday evening that Qualls had been claimed on revocable waivers. The Astros haven't commented, but Ausmus hinted Tuesday a deal wasn't going to happen.

"As far as I know, from a Tigers baseball standpoint, there's nothing," he said.

Under terms of revocable waivers, the Astros have 48 hours (until Wednesday) to work out a trade, pull Qualls back off waivers or let him go to the Tigers. The third option is a virtual certainty not to happen. Detroit must put together a deal, or Houston has to hold onto Qualls for the rest of the season.

"I could have signed there in the offseason and obviously they tried to trade for me at the Deadline, and with me being put on waivers, why wouldn't they take another chance now?" Qualls said. "Yet again, nothing's changed. I'm going to go to work as usual and do my thing."

Qualls, who turned down a two-year deal with the Tigers last winter to remain closer to his home in Austin, is a valuable part of the Astros' bullpen and has another year remaining on his contract, which is why the club is hesitant to let him go. He signed a two-year, $5.95 million deal with a $3.5 million club option for 2016.

"I'm sure he wants me," Qualls said of Ausmus. "I think around the Trade Deadline there were some other guys that were getting traded and I was just messing around and he's like, 'Well, if you would have just signed here in the first place, we wouldn't have to trade for anybody.' Just typical Brad Ausmus. Like I said before, I want to stay here and be a Houston Astro until I retire."

Qualls, 36, has 14 saves in 17 chances for the Astros with a 3.07 ERA. He's walked five batters (two intentional) and struck out 38 batters in 44 innings.

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Forearm fine, Peacock prepared for finale against A's

Lefty steps in for first start since June 16; Peacock gets call for Houston

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With a crucial series in Anaheim looming, the Athletics will recall Drew Pomeranz to start Wednesday against the Astros in the finale of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park.

Why go to a sixth starter now? It's so Oakland can throw its top four starters -- Sonny Gray, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija -- in a four-game set against the Angels this weekend. The clubs entered Tuesday tied atop the AL West standings.

Pomeranz will make his first start in the Majors since June 16, when he broke his right hand. The Athletics could have used righty Jesse Chavez in this spot, but he pitched in long relief Sunday, so Pomeranz became an obvious candidate. Brad Peacock will get the ball for Houston.

Pomeranz has been with Triple-A Sacramento for the last month and a half, posting a 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and .260 batting average against over eight starts. In 17 appearances (eight starts) with the big league club, the 25-year-old lefty has a 2.91 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

Pomeranz's start Wednesday could dictate where he pitches next, as well. Either he or Jason Hammel, who pitched Tuesday, will stay in the rotation as the team's fifth starter. Hammel allowed just three hits and one run over seven innings in a 4-2 loss to Houston.

"We'll take it day to day on this one, see how [Pomeranz] pitches tomorrow and then we'll make our decision accordingly," manager Bob Melvin said.

Peacock pitched one of his best games in weeks on Friday in Cleveland when he held the Indians to one run and two hits in five innings. He had to leave the game prematurely because he had discomfort in his forearm, but he threw off flat ground between starts and said he's ready to go.

"I don't know what happened, but it was hurting," he said. "Now there's no pain. Kind of weird, but I'm doing good. That's all that matters."

Prior to Friday, Peacock had struggled. He was 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA in his four previous starts, allowing 28 hits in 18 innings.

Peacock credits Astros bullpen assistant Javier Bracamonte with helping to get his season on track by noticing he was tipping his pitches.

"I thanked him for helping me out," Peacock said. "He's been watching me throw for the last two years, and he's seen me a lot. He knows what he's doing."

Athletics: Lowrie, Punto could play rehab games soon
Shortstop Jed Lowrie is nearing a return to the club after playing catch Tuesday. He could begin a rehab assignment this weekend and be activated sometime next week.

Lowrie last played on Aug. 13 and has been recovering from a fractured right index finger.

"Hopefully, if that goes well, then maybe we speed things up with him," Melvin said. "He's been doing everything he can to stay game-ready with taking ground balls. I know he's been doing some one-arm swinging in the cages. So today's a big day in how fast we move forward with him."

Infielder Nick Punto, meanwhile, said he's "90 percent" recovered from a right hamstring strain that has kept him out for almost all of August. He is also close to playing rehab games.

"Everything's going well," Punto said Tuesday. "The running is that final step. Being able to go 100 percent, that's the key. I feel like I'm pretty close, maybe 90 percent. We're trying to take it day to day, not look too far ahead, but I do feel like I'm getting close."

Astros: Qualls will likely stay in Houston despite being claimed by Detroit
The Tigers have claimed closer Chad Qualls on revocable waivers, but Houston's right-hander said that he would like to remain with the Astros. Detroit has until Wednesday to work out a deal for Qualls.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who played with Qualls, also hinted Tuesday that a deal wasn't likely to happen.

"I could have signed there in the offseason and obviously they tried to trade for me at the Deadline, and with me being put on waivers, why wouldn't they take another chance now?" Qualls said. "Yet again, nothing's changed. I'm going to go to work as usual and do my thing."

Qualls, 36, has a year left on his contract and a team option for 2016. He's been a big part of the Astros bullpen, converting 15 of 18 saves. He has a 3.00 ERA and 7.8 K/BB ratio in 45 innings.

Worth noting
• Twenty-four of Oakland's 31 remaining games are against AL West opponents. After a four-game set against the Angels this weekend, the A's will host the Mariners for three games.

• Astros outfielder George Springer (quad strain) took batting practice on the field Tuesday. But manager Bo Porter said Springer, outfielder Alex Presley and lefty Darin Downs -- both dealing with strained obliques -- won't be activated until rosters expand Monday, at the earliest.

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Appel dazzles with 10 K's in Double-A win

Astros' No. 2 prospect pitches into ninth for first time in pro career

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Mark Appel's first full professional season began disappointingly with Class A Advanced Lancaster, as he struggled to find his bearings in the hitter-friendly parks of the California League. But as the year draws to a close, he has turned his season around with Double-A Corpus Christi.

Tuesday, the right-hander punctuated that revival with the best start of his professional career. Appel, the Astros' No. 2 prospect struck out 10 batters in eight-plus scoreless innings to lead Corpus Christi to a 1-0 victory against Frisco.

Appel, ranked No. 44 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, pitched into the ninth inning for the first time in his professional career. Having thrown just 87 pitches, manager Keith Bodie gave Appel a chance to finish his gem. But after he gave up a double on the first pitch of the ninth, Bodie made the call to the bullpen. Appel exited the game having held the RoughRiders to two hits and one walk.

Third baseman Colin Moran, the Astros' No. 5 prospect and No. 67 on the Top 100, drove in the lone run of the game with a two-out single in the eighth inning. He extended his hitting streak to six games and is hitting .307/.357/.432 in 22 games since the Astros acquired him from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline in the Jarred Cosart deal.

With Appel pitching like the ace the Astros expected him to be when they selected him with the first overall pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, one run was all Corpus Christi needed. Appel twice retired 10 batters in a row and set a career high for strikeouts.

Appel earned his first victory since being promoted to Corpus Christi last month. In six starts for the Hooks, he is 1-2 with a 3.15 ERA. He has struck out 34 hitters and walked 10 in 34 1/3 innings.

Appel will hope to carry his momentum from the Texas League into the Arizona Fall League this October, as it was announced Tuesday he is among the players the Astros are sending to the offseason league. Appel and the rest of the Astros contingent will play for Salt River along with players from the D-backs, Marlins, Rockies and Twins.

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Moran excelling since joining Astros' system

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HOUSTON -- Colin Moran, the Minor League third baseman the Astros acquired from the Marlins along with outfielder Jake Marisnick and a compensation pick in next year's Draft for pitcher Jarred Cosart, has performed well since joining Double-A Corpus Christi.

Through 22 games, Moran was hitting .307 with a .357 on-base percentage, two homers and 18 RBIs. He entered Wednesday on a six-game hitting streak, during which he was 9-for-27. The 6-foot-4 Moran was taken with the sixth overall pick out of North Carolina by the Marlins in 2013.

"I'm not surprised with that," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said of Moran's success. "He fits with our organizational philosophy of working counts and hitting for power and all that, and it's a good fit for him. I knew the numbers he put up in the Florida State League would translate very well to the Texas League, and so far it has."

Luhnow said Moran -- the team's No. 5-ranked prospect -- would likely be invited to Major League Spring Training next year, and with Matt Dominguez struggling at the plate for most of the season, he could be pushing him for playing time at some point next year.

"We're in good position," Luhnow said. "We have Moran and [Rio] Ruiz both developing nicely as third-base prospects, and that's a good spot to be in. Whether both of them come to camp, I don't know, but they both are deserving of at least a conversation, that's for sure."

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Carter's blast offset by Astros' rocky ninth

A's answer slugger's 31st homer with five runs in final frame

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HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter hoped Chris Carter's eighth-inning home run had perhaps breathed some life into his team's scuffling offense. It closed Oakland's lead to one run, and he knew if the Astros could keep the game tight, anything was possible in the bottom of the ninth.

The ninth inning turned out to be nothing short of a disaster for the Astros, who watched the A's score five runs -- four against relief pitcher Tony Sipp, who walked the first four batters he faced -- en route to an 8-2 loss at Minute Maid Park.

"If we could have kept the game right there, an opportunity to come back up in the ninth inning with a one-run deficit is totally different than coming up down by six," Porter said. "The whole object was trying to keep the game right there."

Oakland starter Jeff Samardzija held the Astros to two runs and six hits and struck out 10 batters in eight innings to improve to 2-0 with a 2.78 ERA in three starts against the Astros since coming to the A's in July.

"I tell you what, he had it all working tonight," Porter said. "He was plus and minus-ing his fastball, anywhere from 91 to 96 [mph], and pretty much was in complete command of the game until Carter hit the two-run homer."

Samardzija (6-10) was coming off a rocky outing in which he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Mets.

"I felt like it got away from me my last start, so I wanted to come out and really go pitch to pitch and hitter to hitter and not really look at it as a whole and break it down as something I could control, not letting previous things affect the future things," he said.

Samardzija was four outs away from shutting out the Astros when Carter belted a two-run home run to right field on an 0-2 pitch -- his 31st of the season -- to cut the lead to 3-2. Thirteen of Carter's 31 homers have come with two strikes, which is the most by an Astros player since Lance Berkman had 18 in 2006.

"All game he was throwing me fastballs away and I was missing them and I finally hit one on the barrel," Carter said.

Sipp began the ninth by walking four consecutive batters on 23 pitches, forcing in a run when he walked Coco Crisp. Jose Veras replaced him and gave up a two-run double to Josh Donaldson and a two-run single by Derek Norris, though all but one run was charged to Sipp.

"Tony Sipp's been good the whole year," Porter said. "It's one of those things he pretty much lost command, and obviously those guys were patient enough and were able to wait it out and take the walks that were given to them."

The Astros, who heading into the weekend were leading the American League in runs scored since the All-Star break, have fallen on hard times offensively. They're hitting .165 in their last five games, during which they're 1-4.

"It's a funk," Porter said. "I believe in these guys in that clubhouse and I believe we're going to be able to pull out it."

Astros starter Scott Feldman (7-10) delivered his fifth quality start in his past six outings by holding the A's to three runs and seven hits in seven innings in a losing effort. His 15 quality starts this season rank second on the club behind Dallas Keuchel.

Feldman got in trouble when he allowed a leadoff double to Eric Sogard in the third inning. He was caught in a rundown between second and third and tagged out, allowing Alberto Callaspo to sneak into second with a fielder's choice. He scored on a Donaldson double.

In the fourth, Josh Reddick followed a one-out single by Brandon Moss with his 10th homer, a two-run shot to right field that made it 3-0. That's his third homer against the Astros this year.

"For the most part I was making my pitches all night and thought I had pretty good command," Feldman said. "I just really missed my spot bad to Reddick there and he's been seeing the ball pretty well off of me this season. He wasn't going to miss that mistake."


Report: Qualls claimed, Feldman clears waivers

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HOUSTON -- Astros closer Chad Qualls has been claimed on revocable waivers by the Tigers, Peter Gammons of MLB Network first reported Tuesday morning. The Astros have until Wednesday to work out a possible trade with them, though it's more likely the Astros pull him back off waivers, which means he can't be traded this season.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported Monday evening that Qualls had been claimed on revocable waivers.

The Astros could have traded Qualls prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline but weren't in a hurry to move their most effective reliever, especially considering he's under contract for next season. Qualls wants to end his career in Houston.

"I don't know what all that entails," he said. "I've been traded a bunch of times in my career and it's no different. I chose Houston because it's close to home and I want to help this team win and I feel like I've been doing the best I can this year.

"Like I said all year, I'd like to stay here this year and obviously beyond that and finish my career as an Astro. It's not in my hands, though, so I don't really put too much thought into it."

FOX also reported Monday that Astros starter Scott Feldman cleared waivers, which means he could be traded to any club. He's in the first year of a three-year, $30 million deal that will play him $12 million this year, $10 million next year and $8 million in 2016.

Feldman, who's served a key role as the veteran to a young pitching staff this year, struck out five and allowed three runs in seven innings in Monday's 8-2 loss to the A's. Nine of his past 12 outings have been quality starts.

"I did see that, but when I'm pitching I don't really think about it," Feldman said. "Human nature, you wonder what's going to happen. When I'm playing, I'm just thinking about the guy that I'm facing. We'll see what happens."


Astros to induct Trevino into Media Wall of Honor

Astros to induct Trevino into Media Wall of Honor

HOUSTON -- Astros Spanish broadcaster Alex Trevino will be inducted into the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor on Sept. 18, the club announced Monday.

Trevino, who played three of his 13 Major Leagues seasons with the Astros, is in his 19th season as an Astros Spanish radio broadcaster. He joined the booth in 1996 and has called more than 3,000 Astros games, including six postseason appearances and the 2005 World Series run. His 19 seasons in the booth are the second most in franchise history by a Spanish broadcaster.

"Everything started with me just giving it a try," Trevino said. "When I played for the Astros, Jamie Hildreth was the director of broadcasting, and he told me, 'Listen, when you're done playing baseball, if you want to give broadcasting a try, give me a call.' So when I finished in the big leagues, I went to Mexico and played in a little bit in Monterrey, my hometown."

Trevino had some offers to be a Minor League coach or instructor, but he decided he wanted to stay in Houston and took Hildreth up on his offer.

"You play Little League and your dream is to play in the big leagues, but my dream was not to be a broadcaster," he said. "It's one of those things you never know in life."

The Astros induct a former or current member of the Houston media in the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor each season for significant and lasting contributions to the landscape of Houston baseball through their work in journalism or broadcasting. Trevino was elected by his peers.

Prior to joining the broadcast staff, Trevino spent 13 seasons in the Majors, primarily as a catcher, including the 1988-90 seasons with the Astros. He also spent time with the Mets, Reds, Braves, Giants and Dodgers in his Major League career. Trevino finished his playing career in the Mexican League, playing three seasons (1993-95) in Monterrey, Mexico.

"Alex has done a fantastic job of reaching our Spanish-speaking fans for nearly two decades," Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said. "He's a true professional and a man that has an unmatched love for the game of baseball. We're lucky to have Alex as a part of our organization."

Trevino was a member of the 1972 Pony League World Series championship team, which hailed from Monterrey. He later would become one of seven Mexican-born players to play for the Astros, and was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2003.


Astros, Nats set to make Spring Training site proposal

Astros, Nats set to make Spring Training site proposal

HOUSTON -- Representatives from the Astros and the Nationals will present a proposed joint Spring Training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., to the Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council on Sept. 11 and Palm Beach County Commissioners on Sept. 23.

The Astros have been trying for more than a year to get a new complex built that they would share with another club, and the formal presentation is a big step. The Astros' lease in Kissimmee, Fla., expires at the end of 2016, and the Astros would like to begin construction on a new spring site by January.

The Palm Beach Post reported the teams will ask for $3 million a year in hotel tax money to help for the proposed $140 million facility, which would be located at Haverhill Road and 45th Street in West Palm Beach.

In a joint statement, the Astros and Nationals said:

"The Astros and Nationals are finalizing a joint presentation in support of a proposed sports complex that will enable the Major League Clubs to co-locate our Spring Training facilities in West Palm Beach. Our projections show that the economic impact created by the activities at the new complex will be in excess of $100 million each year.

"We have a strong desire to make Palm Beach County our home for Spring Training and help re-establish the east coast of Florida as a hub for Major League Baseball's Spring Training activities and create a complex for community and national sporting events throughout the year."

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Astros renew deal with Class A Quad Cities

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HOUSTON -- Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan flew to Iowa on Tuesday morning to sign a player development contract to keep the team's Class A affiliate at Quad Cities for two more years.

Ryan made the announcement at a news conference in Davenport, Iowa.

"Our guys are very happy with the relationship that we have throughout our system, and our goal is to continue to build the relationships at Quad Cities and hopefully [short-season] Tri-City and [Class A] Lancaster, and we think we have three of the best spots in all of baseball with good operations," Ryan said on Monday. "We want to look to continue those relationships."

Neither Ryan nor general manager Jeff Luhnow would comment on a report the club's Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City would switch affiliates to the Dodgers. A group affiliated with the Dodgers is reportedly on the brink of purchasing team.

That would leave the Astros on the search for a new Triple-A affiliate for 2015. They would, of course, like to return to Triple-A Round Rock, which is owned by Ryan Sanders Baseball, but the Express recently renewed its PDC to remain the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers through 2018.

The Astros could be forced to move their Triple-A operation to Albuquerque, N.M. -- replacing the Dodgers -- though there could be other openings revealed in the next few weeks. They have expressed in interest in building a new facility in Montgomery County and relocating a team north of Houston, but that could be years away.

"We've been happy with our affiliate in Oklahoma City," Luhnow said. "If it's not to be, we'll figure out what makes sense for us."

Luhnow said the Astros are in discussions with Lancaster and Tri-City about renewing the PDC with those clubs, which expire after this year. The Astros own Double-A Corpus Christi, Rookie League Greeneville and the Gulf Coast League Astros, so no PDC is needed.

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Astros consider options for September callups

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HOUSTON -- The Astros can expand their active roster beyond 25 beginning next Monday, and general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club has "some guys in mind" that will be added.

Some of the players who were with the club earlier this year, such as shortstop Jonathan Villar, outfielders L.J. Hoes and Domingo Santana (No. 3 prospect) and pitchers Paul Clemens, Anthony Bass and Rudy Owens, figure to be among those getting called up. They'll likely add a third catcher, perhaps Max Stassi, the Astros' No. 19-ranked prospect.

"We haven't made any final determination," Luhnow said.

Triple-A Oklahoma City has gotten itself back in the playoff hunt and entered play Monday in second place in the Pacific Coast League American North division with a 71-66 record, just one game behind first-place Omaha, so that could impact the timing of any callups.

Injuries will also weigh heavily into the decision of which players to call up. Astros outfielder George Springer and Alex Presley and pitcher Darin Downs could be activated early in September, so the number of bodies will begin to add up quickly.

Luhnow was asked if right-handers Asher Wojciechowski and Alex White, both of whom are coming back from injuries, could join the club.

Wojciechowski missed the first half of the season after straining his lat in Spring Training, and White had Tommy John surgery in April 2013. Over his last six games, Wojciechowski has posted a 3.38 ERA and is holding opponents to a .227 average, with 28 strikeouts and eight walks. He's gone at least six innings in four consecutive starts.

In his last four starts, White has struck out 27 batters and allowed only 19 hits in 25 2/3 innings. He's 3-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 23 games (eight starts) overall.

"Both White and Wojo have been pitching well as of late, and that's a good sign," Luhnow said. "Whether or not we want them to get more innings in September or sometime this winter, we're still working through that. We certainly want both of them to come to Spring Training next year competing for spots in the rotation, rested and healthy."

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Porter mum about Astros' in-game meeting

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HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter wouldn't elaborate Monday when asked about the impromptu team meeting held in the tunnel between the visiting dugout and the clubhouse after the second inning of Sunday's game against the Indians at Progressive Field.

Television cameras captured the entire team and coaching staff disappearing for less than a minute and into the tunnel prior to the third inning when the game was tied 0-0.

"We'll leave it in the tunnel," said Porter, who admittedly isn't big on team meetings.

Those who were in the meeting said Porter simply reminded his club it had a chance to win the series against the Indians. The Astros proceeded to lose, 3-1, to the Indians, dropping the final two games of the series. They still went 5-5 on their 10-game road trip that ended in Cleveland.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Astros' top prospects combine for eight hits

Hernandez and DeShields lead Double-A Corpus Christi to 23-7 win

Astros' top prospects combine for eight hits play video for Astros' top prospects combine for eight hits

Outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Delino DeShields, the Astros' Nos. 11 and 12 prospects, combined for eight hits, six runs and eight RBIs Monday, as Double-A Corpus Christi outslugged the Missions in San Antonio, 23-7.

Hernandez went 4-for-7 with a home run, a double, three runs and three RBIs. DeShields finished the night 4-for-6 with two home runs, a triple, a double and a walk. He scored three runs and drove in five. It was his second two-homer game of the season.

Third baseman Colin Moran, the Astros' No. 5 prospect and No. 67 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 prospects list, added three hits and two runs. He is hitting .310/.362/.440 in 21 games since the Astros acquired him at the Trade Deadline from the Marlins as a part of the Jarred Cosart deal.

Both Hernandez and DeShields fell just shy of the cycle Monday. Hernandez had three chances to get his triple and DeSheilds had two opportunities to get his single. But neither was able to complete what would have been the first cycle of their careers.

Hernandez began the season with Class A Advanced Lancaster and was promoted earlier this month. He is hitting .306/.315/.542 with four home runs in 17 games with the Hooks.

In 107 games this season, DeShields is hitting .244/.352/.374 with 11 home runs and 50 stolen bases. After spending his first few years at second base, he returned to the outfield this season. He began the year playing center field, but has primarily played left field since Hernandez arrived in Corpus Christi.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Oberholtzer keeps things close but Astros fall

Southpaw strikes out six over 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball in finale

Oberholtzer keeps things close but Astros fall play video for Oberholtzer keeps things close but Astros fall

CLEVELAND -- Brett Oberholtzer continued his great stretch since being recalled from the Minors on July 12. But statistics aren't much of a consolation when they don't translate to wins.

The Astros' offense was held in check again on Sunday, as Houston dropped its rubber match against the Indians, 3-1, at Progressive Field to finish the 10-game road trip 5-5.

Despite giving up 10 hits, Oberholtzer only allowed three runs over his 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking none.

"I gotta do a better job of shutting the inning down, closing it out," Oberholtzer said. "They had a good approach and they were able to put the ball in play. I gave up a ... fair share of hits, but I was disappointed in myself in not closing innings out."

Over his last eight starts, though, the left-hander is 2-2 with a 3.23 ERA, striking out 31 and walking just six.

"Obie did a good job, he did a good job battling and had us right there in the ballgame," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Again, this guy continues to take the ball and go to the mound and give us an opportunity to win."

As was the case all weekend against Cleveland's starters, the Astros' offense was left searching for its recent dominance at the plate. This time, it came against Trevor Bauer -- who struck out nine. Of course, the Indians' rotation as a whole has been doing that to opposing teams for a while now. It has a 1.71 ERA in Cleveland's last 13 games, dating back to Aug. 9.

"It's been unbelievable. It's just every day you run a new guy out there and have this feeling that he's going to post a really good start and we're going to win the game," Bauer said. "It's nice to have that confidence as a team every day, when you know that your guy is going to go out there and give you a chance to win and post the numbers we're putting up, right now. It's pretty special."

But that doesn't mean the Astros weren't without their chances to score against Bauer. Houston had runners on base in five of the first six innings against him, with Carlos Corporan walking to lead off the seventh to finally knock Bauer from the game.

"We expanded our zone a whole lot more than we wanted to coming into the game," Porter said. "I felt like we actually helped him out quite a bit with expanding our strike zone. Sometimes you get anxious and you don't see the ball as well as you want to see it. He thrives off guys expanding their zones and chasing."

Marc Krauss was especially unlucky at the plate, lining the ball twice to right field with a runner on base -- only to have Tyler Holt make two diving catches. But he finally broke through with a single in the eighth, then scored from first on Jon Singleton's double down the left-field line that beat the Indians' defensive shift.

In the ninth, the Astros had the bases loaded with two outs and Dexter Fowler at the plate. But Indians closer Cody Allen, who pitched in all three games in the series, struck him out to end the game.

The Astros' difficult road trip also included stops in Boston and New York. Yet, Houston was still able to emerge with a 5-5 record -- the third road trip this season in which the team finished .500 or better.

"I'm really proud of our group," Porter said. "These guys battled extremely hard, and to come out of this here road trip 5-5 -- with an opportunity we could have very well been 6-4 -- then you look at the way they battle the last half-inning there, those are some impressive, impressive at-bats in the ninth inning against a really tough closer.

"Now, let's go back home and get the bats [going again]."

The Indians got on the board in the third on Carlos Santana's sac fly to make it 1-0. Considering that Cleveland had runners on second and third with no outs in that inning, Oberholtzer did a good job of escaping greater damage.

Lonnie Chisenhall singled home Mike Aviles to make it 2-0 in the fourth and Jose Ramirez, who got the walk-off hit for the Indians on Saturday night, was 3-for-4 on the day and added an RBI single in the seventh to make it 3-0.


Marisnick getting settled in with Astros

Marisnick getting settled in with Astros play video for Marisnick getting settled in with Astros

CLEVELAND -- Moving from the National League to the American League can be tough on some players. But Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick is happy to have a fresh start in Houston.

Since being acquired from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline, Marisnick has hit .299 (23-for-77) with a home run and six RBIs. Over the last two seasons with Miami, he hit just .178 (28-for-157).

Marisnick credits the better stretch to not only being able to hit the reset button with a new team, but also by simply getting consistent time at the plate.

"At times early [this season] or last year, there's times where you try to calm yourself down, try and relax," Marisnick said. "And just being new and you got so many things going in the box with you, you're stepping in there with your coaches and thinking about everybody watching and all that. But the more you do it, the more you're able to clear your head. Now, I've gotten to the point where it's just me and the pitcher. I'm just competing against him."

The 23-year-old former third-round Draft pick is finding himself to be quite useful for the young Astros, already logging time at all three outfield positions. To Astros manager Bo Porter, that versatility on defense has made Marisnick invaluable as he continues to figure things out offensively.

"He's done a great job. He's a plus-plus defender in all three outfield spots," Porter said. "He's done a tremendous job, he's gotten some big hits for us, as well. I think offensively it's still a work in progress, and his ability to improve from an offensive standpoint will go a long way in him being a consistent everyday player."


Astros' young stars beginning to align

Astros' young stars beginning to align play video for Astros' young stars beginning to align

CLEVELAND -- Before the third inning of the final game of a 10-game road trip, Bo Porter did something you simply never see at the big league level.

The former University of Iowa defensive back and current Astros manager channeled his football days by summoning his entire team to the area behind the visitor's dugout at Progressive Field for a brief, impromptu meeting to ensure their focus was where it needed to be.

This was reminder that while Houston is nearing the home stretch of yet another losing season in the standings, the internal expectations are rising.

"Last year, we found ourselves right in the thick of the playoff picture by playing a lot of teams fighting for their playoff lives, and we didn't fare too well," Porter said. "A year later, our core players have more experience under their belt. … I think it gives our players a sense of the intensity that you have to bring every single day, and it will bode well for us as we become that team that's fighting for playoff contention each year."

You might have heard a thing or two about the Astros' timetable. Sports Illustrated famously pegged them as World Series championship favorites … for 2017.

But here in 2014, the Astros are -- to Porter's point -- certainly more interesting than they were a year ago. They reached their 2013 win total earlier this month (not that this was a particularly lofty goal to begin with), the woeful ways of the Rangers give them a good chance of not finishing last in their division for the first time in four years and their ability to change a game with one swing (only the Orioles have more home runs since July 1) makes them a sneaky spoiler in this campaign's waning weeks.

Not to say it's been a seamless season in the ongoing rebuilding project.

We all know that coming up empty with the No. 1 pick (Brady Aiken) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft was a significant organizational setback. Meanwhile, Mark Appel's Minor League struggles this summer don't engender rave reviews about the top pick in 2013 (though Appel has been better since his promotion to Double-A). And while the Astros got a strong return from the Marlins for Jarred Cosart, it's hard to note his success so far in Miami and not wonder how that swap will look in the long run.

Still, at the Major League level, Houston is, indeed, starting to look like something. And perhaps the best compliment we can offer the Astros is that for a team 21 games under .500, they don't play like a team merely going through the motions.

On the mound, Dallas Keuchel (3.12 ERA in 24 starts) and Collin McHugh (3.02 ERA in 20 starts) have emerged as legit rotation pieces, and it will be interesting to track whether recently promoted flamethrower Mike Foltynewicz settles in at the big league level before season's end (the early results have been shaky, but he was dominant for 1 1/3 innings Sunday).

Clearly, the Astros are still a long way from having a contender-caliber pitching staff, and we'll see if they feel they've turned the corner enough to get into the free-agent bidding in the offseason. But they've got the seeds of a potent lineup. Whether or not Chris Carter proves to be a mainstay, the 27-year-old designated hitter trails only Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion in homer (one for every 13.37 at-bats). And while George Springer is currently on the shelf with a strained left quad and Jon Singleton is batting below the Mendoza Line, their raw power engenders justifiable dreams of middle-of-the-order mashing for years to come.

But Houston's cornerstone, both in terms of output and potential influence, is second baseman Jose Altuve, who has a strong chance to win not only the AL batting title (.334 average) but the stolen-base title (47), as well.

"Whatever Altuve is doing, keep doing, and if you can, find me 12 more, and I'll figure out where they're going to play," Porter said with a smile.

Should they all be 5-foot-6?

"They can be the same size," he replied. "Just find me 12 more. I'll play nine and put three on the bench."

Porter wasn't being totally facetious. Because what he'd like to see -- from Springer, Singleton and all the rest -- is the approach of selective aggression that Altuve employs. At a time when so many teams emphasize patience at the plate, Altuve is amassing his elevated average while seeing the fewest pitches per plate appearance (3.17) of any qualified hitter in the game. That willingness to pounce early in counts has helped him limit his strikeouts to just one every 12.6 plate appearances, second only to that of Detroit's Victor Martinez.

While the Astros don't expect, say, Springer to have an 8-percent strikeout rate any more than they expect Altuve to crank out 40 home runs, they are hoping to see Altuve's approach serve as an influence.

"We have several guys in our lineup that can change the game with one swing," Porter said. "But the quicker you prove to Major League pitchers that you're going to be able to hit for a high average and use the whole field, I think that gets them to your power and you're able to display your power more consistently. So it's a constant balance with all of our guys that have the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, getting them to understand the maturation of becoming a complete Major League player."

Houston is not yet a complete Major League team, and the club's record makes that clear. But when the Astros took two of three from the Yankees last week, it was a reminder that for stretch-run contenders, they're not the total pushover they were a year ago.

And should the Astros themselves lose sight of that fact, Porter will undoubtedly pull them aside to remind them.


Astros gaining confidence after good road trip

Astros gaining confidence after good road trip

CLEVELAND -- The Astros wrapped up their 10-game road swing through Boston, New York and Cleveland on Sunday with a 5-5 record, the team's third .500-or-better road trip this season.

Playing that well through those three cities is difficult enough for any team. But for the youngest group in the Majors, it's proof of progress being made and provides a certain boost through the dog days of the season.

"The goal is to win every series. You take it one series at a time, one game at a time," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "It would be a huge confidence booster, I think, for our club."

It might even be a sign of the team turning a corner in its development.

"Guys are getting at-bats, getting more comfortable, getting more experience -- and seeing different things and starting to understand situations," Astros outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss said. "That's one of the biggest keys in moving forward with your development and, so far, I think everybody's doing a pretty good job of taking the steps they need to to make this team a legit contender here in the next couple years."


Feldman could draw interest from contenders

Feldman could draw interest from contenders play video for Feldman could draw interest from contenders

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on Sunday morning the Astros had placed starter Scott Feldman on revocable waivers. The right-hander is expected to clear or be claimed by Monday, according to Rosenthal.

The news is even more pressing, considering Feldman is scheduled to start the Astros' series opener against the A's on Monday night at Minute Maid Park. But the idea of his potential departure from Houston hasn't rattled Feldman -- largely because he understands the frequency in which players are placed on waivers each season as the Aug. 31 deadline draws near.

"I don't think it's something to worry about," Feldman told the Houston Chronicle. "It's part of the game. If they put me on waivers and somebody wants me, it will probably be a win-win. I either stay here, and I like it here -- and if somebody claims me, it's just part of the game and it probably means they want me, too. Either way it's fine. It's kind of what we sign up for when you're a baseball player."

Feldman -- who will match up with A's right-hander Jeff Samardzija on Monday -- is 7-9 with a 4.37 ERA on the season. After a rough July, during which he compiled a 5.58 ERA over five starts, the right-hander responded with an improved August. Three of his four outings this month have been quality starts. His lone poor performance came on Aug. 14 against the Red Sox, when he surrendered seven runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings.

His last time out against the Yankees on Wednesday, Feldman gave up two earned runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.


Foul call upheld in Astros-Indians finale

Foul call upheld in Astros-Indians finale play video for Foul call upheld in Astros-Indians finale

CLEVELAND -- Catcher Carlos Corporan, who led off the seventh inning of Sunday's game with the Astros down, 2-0, against the Indians, drove a pitch from Trevor Bauer high down the right-field line that appeared to possibly go over the foul pole.

The play was initially ruled foul, but Astros manager Bo Porter came out of the dugout and the umpires initiated a crew-chief review to determine whether it was a home run.

After a very brief review that only lasted 54 seconds, the call was confirmed. Corporan later walked in the at-bat.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Springer ramping up quadriceps rehab

Springer ramping up quadriceps rehab play video for Springer ramping up quadriceps rehab

CLEVELAND -- After suffering a setback in his rehab from a left quadriceps strain earlier in the month, rookie right fielder George Springer's recovery is now headed in the right direction.

Manager Bo Porter said that Springer, who has been out since July 20, is now able to take batting practice and run.

"He's making progress," Porter said.

Springer is hitting .231 with 20 home runs in 78 games. The Astros have held their own without his powerful bat in the lineup, as they were 15-16 since he went on the DL prior to Saturday night's game against the Indians.

"It's tough not to be out there with my teammates," Springer said. "That's the hardest part of being on the DL. But the good thing is that we're playing good baseball, so that makes it easier to take."

{"content":["injury" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }

Astros fall victim to Tribe's walk-off

McHugh battles through 5 1/3, but Houston manages just three hits

Astros fall victim to Tribe's walk-off play video for Astros fall victim to Tribe's walk-off

CLEVELAND --- With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Houston Astros manager Bo Porter turned the game over to rookie reliever Jake Buchanan.

In turn, three Indians rookies contributed to the winning rally in the ninth inning as Cleveland rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Astros on Saturday night at Progressive Field.

Rookie shortstop Jose Ramirez singled in rookie pinch-hitter Tyler Holt with the winning run following a sacrifice bunt by rookie catcher Roberto Perez, pinning the loss on Buchanan.

"In that situation, a tie game in the ninth inning, you turn the ball over to the long man and it's his game until you bring in the closer," Porter said.

Holt pinch-hit for right fielder Chris Dickerson and hit a leadoff single. After Perez bunted Holt up a base, Michael Bourn walked.

Both runners moved up on a wild pitch on a 2-2 count before Ramirez lined the next pitch to left field for his game-winning single and the Indians' 10th walk-off win of the season.

"On 2-2, [Ramirez] checked his swing and foul-tipped a curveball. I went back to the curve and buried it, and it ended up being a wild pitch," Buchanan said. "We had a base open and I tried to nibble because I didn't want to walk him with probably their best batter [Michael Brantley] on deck. [Ramirez] kind of committed to the outside fastball and went down and got it."

The Astros lost for just the second time in their last six games as they built a 2-0 lead in the third inning but couldn't hold it. They dropped to 13-22 in one-run games.

Buchanan felt the key part of the winning rally was Holt's single.

"That first batter, he's kind of an ambush hitter," Buchanan said. "The scouting report said he swings at 50 percent of first pitches and I threw him a fastball down the middle. It kind of went downhill from there."

Cody Allen got the win after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning, the last of four pitchers who combined on a three-hitter. He took the loss Friday night when the Astros scored four runs in the ninth to win, 5-1.

"We had a good streak offensively where we were scoring a lot of runs and swinging the bats well, but we've had a couple of games here where we haven't swung the bats well," Porter said. "We have faith in our guys, though. They'll start swinging the bats and things are going to turn around."

Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision.

The Astros' Collin McHugh, who had won his previous two starts, allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out two. He has a 1.76 ERA in his last five starts.

"The fastball command wasn't great today and they had eight lefties in the lineup so I knew I'd be cutter-heavy going into it," McHugh said. "Ideally, you'd like to have a better mix of pitches and I didn't really have my curveball. You battle with what you got, and that's what I had to do."

The Indians' Danny Salazar gave up two runs --- one earned --- and three hits in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. He had lost his previous two starts.

Ramirez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Dickerson had two hits each for the Indians.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Jose Altuve hit a two-out single to right field that scored Jake Marisnick. Robbie Grossman also scored from first base on the play when Dickerson, the right fielder, threw wildly to home plate in an attempt to get Marisnick, raising the Indians' error total to a Major League-high 100.

The Indians made it 2-1 when Brantley broke an 0-for-15 slump with a two-out RBI single in the third inning, and Bourn drove in a run with a groundout in the fourth to make it 2-2.

"It's a heck of a lot better hearing music after a game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And this one wasn't easy, but we did some things. We got some bunts down. We forced the issue a little bit. They made a couple errors that helped us and we're playing at home with the last at-bat."

{"content":["injury" ] }

Peacock not concerned by forearm discomfort

Peacock not concerned by forearm discomfort play video for Peacock not concerned by forearm discomfort

CLEVELAND -- Astros starter Brad Peacock wasn't concerned a day after being removed from his start because of right forearm discomfort.

The right-hander rested and received treatment Saturday before Houston's game against the Indians at Progressive Field. He will play catch Sunday.

Peacock pitched five innings Friday night before being lifted in what was one of his better starts of the season. He allowed only one run and two hits in five innings with no walks and four strikeouts. He did not factor in the decision as the Astros scored four runs in the ninth for a 5-1 victory over the Indians.

"I'll know for sure once I throw, but I really don't think it's anything to worry about," Peacock said Saturday afternoon. "I feel a lot better than I did after last night's game. I've had this before when throwing between starts. I don't think it's serious."

The Astros could skip Peacock's next turn in the rotation because they have an off-day Monday, but manager Bo Porter said he did not anticipate doing so at this point.

Peacock is 3-8 with a 5.30 ERA in 23 games, including 19 starts. While he was warming up before Friday night's game, bullpen coach Craig Bjornson and bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte noticed he was tipping pitches.

"It definitely makes a difference when the hitters don't know what's coming," Peacock said.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Porter remembers days as college football player

Porter remembers days as college football player

CLEVELAND -- It wasn't only a baseball night in Cleveland on Saturday as the Astros and Indians met at Progressive Field.

The Browns hosted the St. Louis Rams in an NFL preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium. Across the street from Progressive Field at Quicken Loans Arena, the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators hosted the Arizona Rattlers in ArenaBowl XXVII.

That piqued the interest of Astros manager Bo Porter, who played in the Rose Bowl as a defensive back for the University of Iowa. Porter was asked by a reporter if he might go across the street and help out the Gladiators in their secondary as they tried to win a championship.

"I can still cover in my sleep," Porter said before pausing and grinning. "I didn't say for how many plays, though."


Singleton's blast caps Astros' ninth-inning rally

Peacock exits early, but 'pen strong as Indians' errors aid Houston late

Singleton's blast caps Astros' ninth-inning rally play video for Singleton's blast caps Astros' ninth-inning rally

CLEVELAND -- Brad Peacock was pitching perhaps the best game of his season before leaving after the fifth with a right forearm injury. But the Astros' relievers picked right up where he left off, and the offense took advantage of multiple costly errors by the Indians as the Astros won, 5-1, Friday night.

The win moved the Astros to 5-3 in their grueling 10-game road trip.

"That's what winning ballclubs do," said first baseman Jon Singleton. "When other teams are making small mistakes like that, other teams capitalize and come out with the W."

Houston was able to take the lead on a series of errors by baseball's worst defensive team. Tied at 1 in the ninth, Chris Carter walked with one out. Dexter Fowler grounded to first, but Carlos Santana, trying to turn the double play, sailed the throw over Jose Ramirez's head, allowing Carter to advance to third.

With Jason Castro up, Fowler took off for second. But Indians catcher Roberto Perez skipped the throw and the ball bounced into right field, allowing pinch-runner Gregorio Petit to score.

After Castro and Marwin Gonzalez reached, Singleton really broke it open with a three-run homer to left, his 12th of the season. All four runs were unearned, but the Astros were able to take advantage of what was given to them in a game where, for a while at least, offense was coming at an extreme premium.

"Any time you look at obviously a four-run lead instead of a one-run lead, that is a huge cushion for our bullpen," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "But just for [Singleton] personally and his confidence level ... it's at-bats like that that kind of gets him to buy in."

Singleton saw the home run as a sign of the work he's been putting in finally starting to pay off.

"Every time I go up there I try and hit a ball hard," he said. "Sometimes you don't do that and you still gotta go up there and do your job. It's definitely nice to know all the hard work is not wasted."

Peacock was dealing through five innings, giving up just one run on two hits, striking out four and walking no one. He came out for the sixth and threw a few warmup pitches before assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones and Porter came to check on him, leading to Porter's call to the bullpen.

"In the second inning [the right forearm] just kind of really started to hurt a little bit and just got worse as the game went on," Peacock said. "I iced it already, it already feels a lot better. Just keep a close eye on it."

Taking into account that he entered Friday 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA over his last four starts, Friday's outing, before the injury, was a considerable step in the right direction for the struggling right-hander.

"He was throwing the ball about as good as he's thrown all year," Porter said. "He did a tremendous job of pitching to the inner third of the plate, and did a great job of pitching to the top of the strike zone. His command of all his pitches was outstanding."

It took nearly the entire game, but the Astros finally displayed their potent second-half offense. Going into Friday, Houston had scored the most runs in the Majors since the All-Star break with 145, but it was held in check in a 3-0 loss to New York on Thursday, and again by Carlos Carrasco on Friday. Carrasco, who gave up one run in six innings, has only given up one run in his last three starts after being reinserted into the Indians' rotation.

Houston took a 1-0 lead in the fifth after Gonzalez led off with a solo home run to right off Carrasco.

But the Indians answered right back in the bottom of the inning when Zach Walters homered in nearly the same spot to tie it at 1. To that point, Peacock was cruising, retiring 12 in a row.

Astros relievers were also aided by the Indians' equally baffling decisions on the basepaths. In the eighth, Mike Aviles, pinch-hitting for Lonnie Chisenhall, led off with a single against Tony Sipp. Tyler Holt, also pinch-hitting, bunted to Sipp, who turned and threw to second, but Aviles was called safe.

Aviles on an intended bunt was caught too far off second and tagged out on a rundown near third base, moving Holt to second with one out. Holt then tried to steal third, but was thrown out by Castro, fizzling out the Indians' rally.

"The game kind of, I guess you can say, sped up for one inning there and the ball went moving around the diamond a little bit," Porter said. "I felt like our guys did a good job of being aggressive and took advantage of some mistakes in which the other team made."

{"content":["injury" ] }

Peacock solid despite right forearm discomfort

Right-hander feels OK after tossing five innings of one-run ball with lingering pain

Peacock solid despite right forearm discomfort play video for Peacock solid despite right forearm discomfort

CLEVELAND -- Brad Peacock was pitching one-run ball through five, having perhaps his best outing in an otherwise rough season. But he was doing it with a lingering pain in his right forearm.

And though he took a few warmup pitches before the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at 1 in Friday night's eventual 5-1 win over the Indians, Peacock couldn't press his luck any further.

"In the second inning it just kind of really started to hurt a little bit and just got worse as the game went on," Peacock said. "I usually have this kind of pain on my bullpen day, and it just kind of came up on my start day."

Astros manager Bo Porter and assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones came out to the mound, where Porter made the decision to pull Peacock and go to the bullpen. Left-hander Kevin Chapman rushed out to warm up.

"[Peacock] was throwing the ball about as good as he's thrown all year, but whenever you start talking about forearm tightness, it's not something you want to take a chance with," Porter said. "We just felt like for precautionary measures, we were going to get him out of the game."

Peacock didn't feel the need to worry about any possibility of it becoming a bigger injury, though.

"I iced it already. It already feels a lot better," he said. "Just keep a close eye on it."

To that point in the game, Peacock gave up just two hits, striking out four without a walk. In his previous four starts, Peacock was 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA, walking 12 batters and striking out 14.

"[The discomfort] should happen more often though," Peacock joked. "It's the best I've thrown in a while."

{"content":["injury" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }

Carter pacing red-hot Astros offense

Carter pacing red-hot Astros offense play video for Carter pacing red-hot Astros offense

CLEVELAND -- Entering Friday night's game against the Indians, the Astros had one of the hottest offenses in baseball, leading the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break with 145 in 32 games.

A major reason for the onslaught of runs is pure power. The Astros have hit 30 homers in their last 22 games, and they're also second in the Majors in home runs since July 1 with 54. The biggest contributor to the recent surge remains designated hitter Chris Carter, who is hitting .311 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 15 games. His 17 home runs, 42 RBIs and .665 slugging percentage since July 1 is the best in the Majors as well.

"It's been impressive," Astros manager Bo Porter said.

With 30 homers, Carter has reached a career high. But while the 27-year-old has always been a hitter with power on his mind, Porter has seen changes throughout the season that have made Carter better overall at the plate.

"It's not just the home runs," Porter said. "It's the base hits the other way, it's him understanding situations, and he's taking his walks when they're giving them to him. And unlike early in the year, the pitches of which he's been getting, those hittable pitches in the zone, he hasn't been fouling them off, he hasn't been swinging and missing them. He's been putting barrel to them and doing damage."


Krauss excited to play in favorite childhood park

Krauss excited to play in favorite childhood park play video for Krauss excited to play in favorite childhood park

CLEVELAND -- Growing up just a few hours west of Cleveland near Findlay, Ohio, Astros outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss was a huge fan of the Indians. And with teams as good as the ones the Indians were putting on the field, that meant plenty of trips to then-Jacobs Field.

"We came to the Jake back in the day a lot, my family and I," Krauss said. "Probably four or five times a year to watch them play. It was a lot of fun back in those days. They had a lot of good teams."

Krauss was able to play in the Astros' September series in Cleveland during his rookie season in 2013, hitting .455 (5-for-11) over the four games while enjoying the surreal feeling of playing in the same park he grew up visiting so often.

"Last year, it was a lot of fun," Krauss said. "Could hear people all over the stadium whenever I was out there or up, cheering me on. It's definitely a great feeling having all the support being able to come watch you in person."

As for where Krauss is at in his second trip to Cleveland as a professional, he's hitting .276 (8-for-29) with a home run and three RBIs in August entering Friday. But more imporant, he's drawing walks, too; four to go along with seven strikeouts. For Krauss, who always maintained a high on-base percentage in the minors, it could be a sign that he's turning the corner.

"I think one of the main things when you break into the Major Leagues is, all the pitchers obviously are the best in the world," Krauss said. "So a lot of them can control the ball better. They're going to come after you. In the Minor Leagues and you're walking a lot, having a good eye, that means something.

"So when you get to this point, you have to do the same thing to these teams, to get some respect. You really have to kind of earn that title of being an on-base [hitter], earning your walks."


Keuchel goes distance, but Astros fall in shutout

Tough-luck lefty tosses fifth CG of season as bats bow to McCarthy

Keuchel goes distance, but Astros fall in shutout play video for Keuchel goes distance, but Astros fall in shutout

NEW YORK -- Dallas Keuchel was able to take no satisfaction from pitching perhaps one of his best games of the season Thursday afternoon.

Keuchel, with the exception of a three-batter stretch in the second inning, mowed through the Yankees for eight innings en route to his American League-leading fifth complete game of the season. Yanks starter Brandon McCarthy was even better.

McCarthy, who was beaten by Keuchel and the Astros on June 11 while he was with the D-backs, threw his ninth career complete game by spinning a four-hit shutout as the Yankees avoided the sweep with a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium.

"I feel like I pitched just as good as McCarthy, but he was better today," Keuchel said.

Keuchel's five complete games, two of which have come in losing efforts, are the most in a season by an Astros lefty since Mike Hampton had seven in 1997.

"Keuchel was outstanding," manager Bo Porter said. "Just the one inning there, and they were able to put some balls in places where we couldn't defend them. To their credit, they were able to put up a three-spot. Dallas Keuchel, don't take anything away from him."

Neither Keuchel nor McCarthy walked a batter, which helped lead to a fast game time of 2 hours, 7 minutes -- the shortest of the season for the Astros and the shortest nine-inning Yankees home game since 1996.

McCarthy (5-2 with New York, 8-12 overall), making his eighth start since being traded to the Yankees, used 107 pitches to throw his fourth career shutout.

"He was exactly what we needed," Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said. "That team played us tough this year, and after we put up some runs, it was great for him to come out and really dominate the game."

The Yankees' rally in the second began when Mark Teixeira rolled a single through a huge hole on the right side of the infield that was left vacated by second baseman Jose Altuve, who shifted to the other side of the base. Martin Prado then reached out to hit a pitch that was nearly in the dirt and poked it into left-center, hustling into second base to put runners at second and third.

If those hits weren't frustrating enough for Keuchel, Headley followed by hitting a pop fly down the right-field line that bounced into the corner for a two-run double. Headley's heady play of taking third on a grounder to third base allowed him to score on an Ichiro Suzuki sac fly to make it 3-0.

"It was just a bad sequence," Keuchel said. "Teixeira hit a ball through the shift, and I thought Prado hit a pretty good pitch of mine, and Headley got his first hit on an outer-half fastball since he's been a Yankee. I couldn't ask for any better pitches, so that's just the quality of those guys, and they beat me the second inning."

Keuchel sent down 20 of the final 23 batters he faced.

"He looked like he was in complete command the whole time," Porter said. "Even the inning where he gave up the three runs, it's not like those were bad pitches. So he did a tremendous job."

The Astros' best chance to get to McCarthy came in the seventh, when Chris Carter -- whose game-winning homer in the ninth inning Tuesday was his only hit in his previous 16 at-bats -- led off with a single. He was erased on a fielder's choice by Dexter Fowler, who would have scored on a Marc Krauss hit to right had it not bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

"With Dexter running, and when he gets those long legs going, he's going to score from first a lot of the times," Krauss said. "It's just one of those plays where the short porch cost you there, possibly. It's something you can't really worry about. I was able to keep it fair and try to get something going, but McCarthy made some good pitches to get out of it a couple of times today when we did have something going."

McCarthy struck out Jon Singleton and got Carlos Corporan to fly out and went on to retire the final eight batters he faced.

"He was on his game, to say the least," Krauss said. "Talking with other guys, he just didn't throw the ball over the middle of the plate. All the pitches I saw were either on the outside corner or inside corner or just off. He did a good job of locating, and when pitchers can locate -- and he has two good pitches, his sinker and cutter -- it's going to make it tough on the hitters, which it was for me today."

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Corporan nursing lingering thumb injury

Corporan nursing lingering thumb injury play video for Corporan nursing lingering thumb injury

NEW YORK -- Astros catcher Carlos Corporan has spent the last two months dealing with a swollen and bruised right thumb, which has been affecting him behind the plate and swinging the bat, especially from the left side of the plate.

Corporan jammed the thumb trying to block a ball with his bare hand in mid-June against the Rays in St. Petersburg. He's been trying to put extra padding on his thumb and has been holding the bat in different ways to take pressure off the hand.

"It's been hurting," he said. "Just the fact I don't play every day, it's something you have to keep treating and then take care of. I'm just trying to forget about it and perform the best I can."

Because he plays two or three times a week as the backup to Jason Castro, Corporan is able to play through the injury. Had he been the starting catcher, he might have had to go on the disabled list and let it calm down.

"I'm trying to do my best and take some medicine and try to get the best treatment I have for my thumb," he said. "The [training staff] has been doing a pretty good job. They've kept me in the lineup, avoiding the DL."

{"content":["injury" ] }
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