McCullers pitches Astros back into first place

McCullers pitches Astros back into first place

HOUSTON -- The Astros moved into sole possession of first place in the American League West for the first time since before the All-Star break, beating the Angels, 6-3, on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park, behind a terrific outing from rookie Lance McCullers.

McCullers (5-3) gave up a run in the second inning before getting into a groove and setting down 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. In the meantime, the Astros chipped away, taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth on RBIs by Colby Rasmus and Jose Altuve. Preston Tucker would then homer in the sixth, and Jon Singleton blasted his first of the year in the seventh to make it 4-1.

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

Astros hope to make another deal before Deadline

Astros hope to make another deal before Deadline

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

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

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

Lowrie set to return to lineup, will play third base

Lowrie set to return to lineup, will play third base

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

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

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

Singleton's 2nd-half turnaround a timely one

Singleton's 2nd-half turnaround a timely one

HOUSTON -- Battling to earn an everyday role for Houston, Jon Singleton entered Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Angels with 16 strikeouts, a .171 average and still in search of his first home run.

And with the imminent return of Jed Lowrie -- whom Astros manager A.J. Hinch announced will start at third base on Thursday -- Singleton's roster spot was in limbo.

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

Phillips, Reed mash for Double-A Corpus Christi

Astros No. 2 prospect goes 4-for-5; No. 8 prospect hits his Minor League-leading 28th homer

Phillips, Reed mash for Double-A Corpus Christi

Top prospects from the Astros and Padres turned a game between Double-A Corpus Christi and San Antonio into an old-fashioned Texas shootout.

A.J. Reed -- No. 8 on Houston's recently updated Top 30 Prospects list -- extended his Minor League lead by swatting his 28th homer of the season in a narrow 7-6 win for the Hooks. Reed finished 3-for-4 with the opposite-field solo shot and three RBIs.

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

Kazmir to face Angels in first home start for Houston

Kazmir to face Angels in first home start for Houston

Making the first home start of his Astros career, Houston native Scott Kazmir expects a robust gathering of 15 family members and some other "rowdy high school friends" when he faces Angels righty Matt Shoemaker in finale of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

Though the rowdy high school friends are tasked with getting their own tickets, according to Kazmir, he's excited to pitch in the park where his childhood idols played for the team he grew up admiring. In his 11-year career, Kazmir has made only three starts at Minute Maid Park, sporting a 2-0 record with a 4.70 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.

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

Altuve makes spectacular off-balance play

Altuve makes spectacular off-balance play

HOUSTON -- Though much of the Astros' defensive acclaim has shifted to rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, veteran second baseman Jose Altuve -- Correa's mentor -- stole some thunder Wednesday night.

Ranging to his right, Altuve dove for C.J. Cron's slow roller behind second base, secured the ball and fired a throw across his body, as he was falling down, to record the first out of the seventh inning and preserve rookie Lance McCullers' impressive outing.

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

Altuve's aggressiveness pays dividends for Astros

Second baseman finishes with career-high 5 RBIs

Altuve's aggressiveness pays dividends for Astros

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve set a career high with five RBIs in Tuesday's 10-5 win against the Angels, beating his year-old record by one.

It was one he had to will to the plate.

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

Wild West: Astros win slugfest, pull even with Halos

Wild West: Astros win slugfest, pull even with Halos

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve drove in a career-high five runs, and Carlos Correa and Chris Carter went deep as the Astros rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Angels, 10-5. The two clubs now sit tied atop the AL West.

Houston broke open the back-and-forth affair in the sixth, padding its tenuous 6-5 lead with four extra-base hits and four runs -- highlighted by Altuve's two-run double and Evan Gattis' seventh triple of the season. Eight of the nine Astros starters had hits, including four with multi-hit games.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Deduno, Peacock likely out for season

Deduno, Peacock likely out for season

HOUSTON -- Two lengthy disabled-list stints for Astros pitchers Samuel Deduno and Brad Peacock will likely be season-ending, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday.

Deduno, on the DL since May 14 with a lower right back strain, is set to have arthroscopic surgery on his right hip labrum next week, effectively ending his season.

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

Writing's on the wall: Biggio visits plaque

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

Writing's on the wall: Biggio visits plaque

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

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

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

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

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

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

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

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

Biggio brings class, dignity to Hall induction

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

Biggio brings class, dignity to Hall induction

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

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

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

Hinch calls Biggio an icon in Astros' history

Hinch calls Biggio an icon in Astros' history

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

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

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

Astros reschedule Taylor Swift concert

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

Astros reschedule Taylor Swift concert

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

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

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

Lowrie could return before end of homestand

Infielder getting reps at third for Double-A Corpus Christi

Lowrie could return before end of homestand

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

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

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Hernandez named to Prospect Team of the Week

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

Hernandez named to Prospect Team of the Week

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

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

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

Biggio among quartet inducted into Hall

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

Biggio among quartet inducted into Hall

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

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

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

Keuchel attributes his tough start to bad luck

Keuchel attributes his tough start to bad luck

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

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

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

Keuchel, Astros hurt by Royals' four-run first

Keuchel, Astros hurt by Royals' four-run first

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

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

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

Astros fans drive 25 hours straight for HOF induction

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Astros fans drive 25 hours straight for HOF induction

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

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

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They said it: Quotes from HOF quartet

A selection of memorable remarks made by Biggio, Smoltz, Johnson and Martinez during the induction ceremony

They said it: Quotes from HOF quartet

On Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y., Major League Baseball welcomed four new members into its National Baseball Hall of Fame ranks. The 2015 class -- featuring greats Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez-- was enshrined before thousands of fans at the Clark Sports Center.

Here's some of what they had to say at their induction ceremony.

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

Plaques, speeches and other must-see HOF moments

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Plaques, speeches and other must-see HOF moments

They say that every little kid dreams of being a big league ballplayer when he grows up. Of those kids, few get the opportunity to earn a living playing America's pastime and fewer still achieve the dream of hitting a walk-off home run or winning the World Series.

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Feldman gives Astros another quality outing

Feldman gives Astros another quality outing

KANSAS CITY -- The Astros lost a tough game on Saturday night, but the silver lining was the performance of veteran right-hander Scott Feldman.

In his second start since coming off the disabled list following knee surgery, Feldman battled the Royals and the heat for 7 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and one run, but wound up with a no-decision as Kansas City went on to a 2-1 walk-off win in 10 innings.

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

We have no more words to describe Correa's highlights

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We have no more words to describe Correa's highlights

After Saturday night's game against the Royals, Carlos Correa had played only 40 Major League games. This is a problem. Because after only two score worth of ballgames, we have run out of adjectives to describe the Astros' rookie sensation. As a website devoted to writing things about baseball players, you can see why this is an issue. 

After all, here's a 20-year-old shortstop who has already hit eight home runs with a .293/.341/.529 slash line. Who also has a great glove and stands 6'4". We've aleady used baseball descriptors like young, patient, powerful, speedy, flexible, soft-handed and highlight-creating. 

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Hinch sets Astros' rotation with Kazmir in fold

Left-hander to make his home debut on Thursday against Angels

Hinch sets Astros' rotation with Kazmir in fold

KANSAS CITY -- With newcomer Scott Kazmir up and running, Astros manager A.J. Hinch has set his revised rotation for the immediate future.

After Dallas Keuchel makes his start on Sunday in the finale of the Royals series, Houston will enjoy an off-day on Monday. Then, Hinch plans to go with Collin McHugh on Tuesday and Lance McCullers on Wednesday before Kazmir make his home debut against the Angels on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.

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

Correa's fine plays aren't enough to top Royals

Correa's fine plays aren't enough to top Royals

KANSAS CITY -- Alcides Escobar blooped a single to short right with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Royals a 2-1 walk-off win over the Astros on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Escobar flipped a flare just past the infield off Houston reliever Will Harris that fell just in front of right fielder Colby Rasmus, who was playing extremely shallow. The hit scored Paulo Orlando, who had singled and stolen second base.

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

Great Scott! Kazmir sizzles in K.C. heat

Left-hander tosses seven shutout innings in Astros debut

Great Scott! Kazmir sizzles in K.C. heat

KANSAS CITY -- If he were to be graded on his first impression, Scott Kazmir would certainly receive an "A" from his admiring new Astros' teammates.

One day after being acquired from Oakland, the stylish left-hander showed up at Kauffman Stadium, did an impromptu meet-and-greet and then proceeded to deliver seven scoreless innings on three hits in Houston's 4-0 victory over the Royals. The win helped the Astros move into a virtual tie for first place in the American League West with the Angels, who lost to the Rangers, 4-2, on Friday night.

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