Altuve, Gattis hit first HRs in loss to Rays

Altuve, Gattis hit first HRs in loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays rallied for four runs in the sixth inning to snap the Astros' three-game winning streak in a 6-3 victory at Tropicana Field on Saturday. Tampa Bay has won four of its last five games.

After avoiding trouble all night, the Rays finally got to Astros starter Charlie Morton in the sixth. Steven Souza Jr. led off the inning with a double to center. Logan Morrison walked and Derek Norris singled to center to load the bases with no outs and end Morton's night. Astros reliever Will Harris entered and allowed back-to-back RBI singles to Shane Peterson and Tim Beckham that put the Rays ahead.

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J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com that covered the Astros on Friday.

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com that covered the Rays on Friday.

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

Springer day to day after hamstring forces exit

Astros' outfielder left game vs. Rays running out grounder in fifth inning

Springer day to day after hamstring forces exit

ST. PETERSBURG - Astros outfielder George Springer left Saturday's game against the Rays with left hamstring discomfort.

Facing Rays starter Blake Snell in the fifth inning, Springer hit a ground ball to shortstop that the Rays turned into a double play. Right before reaching first base, he came up limping.

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

Altuve stands out with power, hustle vs. Rays

Astros' second baseman hits first home run and scores through impressive baserunning

Altuve stands out with power, hustle vs. Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- After scuffling through his last few games at the plate, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was looking for something to kickstart his bat. He came into Saturday night's 6-3 loss to the Rays just 2-for-11 over his last three games.

Altuve was 1-for-3 with a walk and stolen base on Saturday. The one hit was his first home run of the season.

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

Bottom of lineup sparking Astros offense

Bottom of lineup sparking Astros offense

ST. PETERSBURG -- The big bats in the heart of the Astros' order have done their part during the team's recent run of eight wins in nine games, but it has been the bottom of the lineup that has been key to enabling the team at times, including during Friday night's 6-3 win over the Rays.

Brian McCann, hitting seventh on Friday, went 3-for-4, pushing his season average to .311. Yulieski Gurriel, who is now batting a team-high .319 on the year, also went 3-for-4 in the series opener at Tropicana Field. Norichika Aoki (hitting .306) and Jake Marisnick (.294) have also found success in the bottom third of the lineup this season.

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

Musgrove, Astros goes for series win vs. Rays

Musgrove, Astros goes for series win vs. Rays

Right-handers Joe Musgrove and Matt Andriese will square off on Sunday, as the Astros and Rays close a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

Musgrove (1-1, 5.87) is hoping some recent mechanical adjustments to his delivery will help his cause when he takes the mound Sunday. Born with hip dysplasia, the 24-year-old is going to try out a different stance while pitching out of the stretch in hopes of keeping stress off of his right hip.

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

Relentless Astros post 8th win in last 9

Relentless Astros post 8th win in last 9

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays brought the big bats to open their three-game series against the Astros on Friday night, but in the end, Houston made the little things matter the most.

George Springer knocked in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded fielder's choice in the seventh inning as the Astros rallied from a two-run deficit. Houston's bullpen shut down Tampa Bay's offense from there in a 6-3, come-from-behind victory at Tropicana Field.

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Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rays Friday.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Astros Friday.

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

Beltran keeps hitting into his third decade

Outfielder goes 2-for-4 with home run vs. Rays, turns 40 Monday

Beltran keeps hitting into his third decade

ST. PETERSBURG -- One of these days, Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran is going to act his age. It doesn't look like that is going to be happening any time soon though.

"Maybe his speed is down a little bit compared to his early days," Astros manager A.J. Hinch joked. "I don't think he's cared about Father Time. He's still a pretty complete player."

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J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Devenski racking up strikeouts in bullpen

Devenski racking up strikeouts in bullpen

ST. PETERSBURG -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch called relief pitcher Chris Devenski "Superman" before Houston's series opener against the Rays on Friday.

The 26-year-old has certainly earned the moniker after establishing himself as one of the most dominant relievers in the big leagues.

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J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCullers dominates as Astros top Angels

McCullers dominates as Astros top Angels

HOUSTON -- Lance McCullers Jr. threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out eight batters, and was backed by solo homers from Carlos Beltran and Jake Marisnick to send the Astros to a series win with a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

McCullers (2-0) didn't allow a hit until Andrelton Simmons led off the fifth with a single, which was one of three hits he gave up. Houston reliever Chris Devenski retired the first four batters he faced before Mike Trout took him deep to start the ninth, cutting the lead to 2-1.

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

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

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

Marisnick's work coming to fruition at plate

Marisnick's work coming to fruition at plate

HOUSTON -- Jake Marisnick has played in all but two of the Astros games this season, though much of his action has been as a defensive replacement. One of the premier defensive outfielders in baseball, Marisnick worked hard in the offseason and spring to have the bat to match.

Marisnick's second home run of the season -- a solo blast in the fifth inning off Matt Shoemaker -- was the difference in the Astros' 2-1 win over the Angels on Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, and Marisnick hopes it's the start of something bigger. He is hitting .313 with a .450 on-base percentage in 20 plate appearances this year.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Keuchel, McCullers catalysts for Astros

Keuchel, McCullers catalysts for Astros

HOUSTON -- Here's why the Astros might just be the best team in the American League West, if not the AL overall: Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr.

How's that for not overthinking the really important stuff? In 24 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, the Astros saw their top two starting pitchers at their best.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez extends scoreless streak to 14 1/3

Perez extends scoreless streak to 14 1/3

Make it three straight scoreless starts for Class A Advanced Buies Creek's Franklin Perez.

The Astros' No. 6 prospect extended his season-opening scoreless innings streak to 14 1/3 on Thursday, tossing five dominant frames against a loaded Carolina offense. He gave up two hits, struck out seven and induced six ground-ball outs as Buies Creek routed the Mudcats, 14-1.

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

Astros fan dressed up as Dallas Keuchel

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Astros fan dressed up as Dallas Keuchel
The similarities are uncanny. This fan nailed the length of Keuchel's beard, but was unable to fully capture the hard right angles present in the original. Fake beards of that nature are presumably hard, if not impossible, to come by.
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Astros put Gustave on DL; Hoyt gets chance

Astros put Gustave on DL; Hoyt gets chance

HOUSTON -- The Astros made their first roster move of the regular season Thursday morning, placing right-handed reliever Jandel Gustave on the 10-day disabled list and recalling right-hander James Hoyt from Triple-A Fresno. Gustave has right forearm tightness, the team said.

Hoyt and Gustave were battling for the final spot in the bullpen this spring, with Gustave getting the edge. Gustave appeared in six games for Houston, allowing five hits, four runs (three earned) and seven walks while striking out two batters in five innings.

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

Reddick's bat, Keuchel's arm power Astros

Reddick's bat, Keuchel's arm power Astros

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel turned in another virtuoso performance, and Josh Reddick provided the firepower.

Keuchel held the Angels to eight hits and one run in seven innings and Reddick homered, tripled, doubled and scored three times, finishing a single shy of the cycle, to lead the Astros to a 5-1 win Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

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

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

Keuchel back to inducing grounders en masse

Keuchel back to inducing grounders en masse

HOUSTON -- When asked how important it was for Dallas Keuchel to have his ground-ball rate back to normal, Astros manager A.J. Hinch went a step further.

"I think it's through the roof," he said.

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

Reddick flourishing in No. 2 hole

Reddick flourishing in No. 2 hole

HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick has taken to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Reddick turned in his biggest game of the season in Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Angels, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, triple and home run, falling a single shy of the cycle.

Reddick is hitting .421 (8-for-19) since moving to the No. 2 spot in the batting order last Wednesday in Seattle; he has hit second in five of the past six games. All of those starts have come against right-handed pitching, against which he's hitting .375 (12-for-32).

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

Springer, Gurriel homer; win streak snapped

Springer, Gurriel homer; win streak snapped

HOUSTON -- Albert Pujols' launched a three-run homer to left field in the fifth inning to cap a four-run outburst and allow the Angels to snap a six-game losing skid -- while ending the Astros' five-game winning streak -- with a 5-2 win on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The towering home run was Pujols' second of the season and No. 593 in his career.

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

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

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

Musgrove, Astros eye efficiency later in game

Right-hander's longest start this season is 5 1/3 innings

Musgrove, Astros eye efficiency later in game

HOUSTON -- The next step in the development of Astros right-hander Joe Musgrove will be finding a way to pitch deeper into games, which means more efficient pitch counts and navigating through the batting order for a third time with more success.

Musgrove sailed through four innings in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Angels at Minute Maid Park, allowing a solo homer to Andrelton Simmons and three singles. A long fifth inning brought an end to his day, though. A three-run homer by Astros nemesis Albert Pujols capped a four-run fifth for the Angels and sent them on their way to snapping a six-game losing skid.

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

Jose shows way for Astros in 5th straight win

Jose shows way for Astros in 5th straight win

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve drove in two runs and Charlie Morton pitched five scoreless innings to lead the Astros to their fifth consecutive win -- 3-0 over the Angels on Monday night in the series opener at Minute Maid Park.

Altuve contributed a sacrifice fly in the third to put the Astros ahead, 2-0, and added another insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth, though he was thrown out at third by Danny Espinosa while trying to stretch the double into a triple. Altuve is now batting .414 (12-for-29) over his last eight games.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Astros on Monday.

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

Morton's gritty effort nets first win with Astros

Morton's gritty effort nets first win with Astros

HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton picked up his first win in an Astros uniform. And the right-hander posted his first scoreless start of the season, holding the Angels at bay over his five innings.

But it wasn't all clear sailing for Morton, who stranded nine runners in Houston's 3-0 win at Minute Maid Park -- the club's fifth in a row.

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Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dawson gets three hits for Quad Cities

Dawson gets three hits for Quad Cities

After an impressive spring in big league camp, Andrew Stevenson hasn't skipped a beat to begin the season. On Monday, the Nationals' No. 5 prospect collected a career-high five hits to help lead Double-A Harrisburg past Harford, 16-14, in 13 innings.

Stevenson flew out in his first at-bat, but collected singles in his next two trips to the plate. He would then notch RBI singles in the eighth and ninth innings before doubling in the 12th to finish 5-for-7 and improve his average to .381.

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

Martes extends scoreless streak

Martes extends scoreless streak

If Daniel Palka was feeling any fatigue playing in his second game Sunday, he certainly didn't show it.

After going 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the matinee for Triple-A Rochester, Palka, the Twins' No. 14 prospect, exploded in the Red Wings' second game against Syracuse -- a makeup of Saturday's rained-out contest. The right fielder was involved in the entirety of Rochester's offense in the nightcap, driving in four runs and scoring three more of his own in the Red Wings' 8-7 loss to the Chiefs.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros rally past A's for fourth straight win

Astros rally past A's for fourth straight win

OAKLAND -- Held hitless for six innings, the Astros scored eight straight runs -- capped by a two-run homer by George Springer in the eighth inning -- to wipe out a five-run deficit and stun the A's, 10-6, on Saturday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.

The Astros scored twice in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings and pushed across four runs in the eighth to stretch their winning streak to four games overall and nine consecutive against the A's.

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

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Athletics on Saturday.

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

A's, Astros pay tribute to Jackie Robinson

A's, Astros pay tribute to Jackie Robinson

OAKLAND -- The Astros and A's joined the rest of baseball Saturday by wearing No. 42 on the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947. Major League Baseball retired No. 42 in 1997, so it's worn once a year by all big league players.

Astros reliever Tony Sipp cherishes the chance to wear Robinson's number each year, and he says he makes sure to carry himself in a way that would make Robinson proud.

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

Sipp donates equipment to youth league

Sipp donates equipment to youth league

OAKLAND -- As baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday, Astros pitcher Tony Sipp is doing his part to help increase the number of African-Americans playing the sport.

Sipp recently donated, with the help of Rawlings, $15,000 worth of baseball equipment to a Cal Ripken Baseball League in his hometown of Moss Point, Miss. Sipp said the youth league had been dismantled, but he helped fund the league, which is in a part of town that's predominantly African-American.

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

Tucker plates seven in four-hit performance

Tucker plates seven in four-hit performance

Astros No. 2 prospect Kyle Tucker enjoyed a huge night at the plate on Saturday for Class A Advanced Buies Creek, helping slug his club to a 13-6 victory at Winston-Salem.

Tucker, also the No. 32 overall prospect in baseball, went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, three runs scored and seven RBIs. In his ninth game of the season, the 20-year-old left-handed batter boosted his line to .343/.395/.714.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.