HOUSTON -- Sometimes the Astros' bullpen isn't quite as invincible as it's appeared during the first two months of the season. And with Houston's offense scuffling for runs, any hiccup late in games looms large.
That was the case Friday night at Minute Maid Park, when Chad Qualls gave up a game-tying homer to Gordon Beckham in the eighth, and the White Sox rallied for three runs in the 11th off Josh Fields and Tony Sipp to beat the Astros, 6-3, in the series opener. The four runs allowed by the bullpen tied a season high.
HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto hit a two-run double off the right-field wall to break a tie in the 11th inning, and Adam LaRoche added an RBI single to lead the White Sox to a 6-3 win over the Astros in the series opener Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
"It was a nice win," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "These guys battled, and I think you look at the team wins you'll have and this is a big one, because it was a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit, knowing we were limited. Just a lot of big contributions from everybody."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's
Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Devenski and Hader throw no-hitter for Hooks
Two pitchers combine for first no-no in Corpus Christi history in rain-shortened game
By Alex M. Smith
The first no-hitter in Corpus Christi Hooks history was a weird, wet one.
Astros prospect Chris Devenski struck out four batters during the first five innings of the Double-A Hooks' 4-0 win over Arkansas. Following a two-out walk in the first inning, the right-hander retired 13 straight batters. Astros No. 9 prospect Josh Hader picked up for Devenski in the sixth inning, but only recorded one out before rain halted the contest. Eventually, the umpire crew chief called the game and Corpus Christi had notched its first no-no.
HOUSTON -- The Astros placed right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman on the 15-day disabled list Friday after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus earlier in the day. He's expected to be out about six weeks, the club said.
Houston recalled Michael Feliz from Double-A Corpus Christi.
The Astros and White Sox send left-handers to the mound Saturday for the second meeting in a three-game set at Minute Maid Park. It'll be a 3:10 p.m. CT start, with Houston looking to avoid dropping a home series while Chicago can snap a three-series losing streak.
The White Sox will run out Jose Quintana, whose last start wasn't indicative of his rock-steady season. He was shelled for seven runs (one unearned) on seven hits by a hot Twins lineup on Sunday, the first time he had allowed more than two runs in six starts. He has been prone to the big inning, which is something to watch against an Astros lineup brimming with power and taking advantage of the short porches in Minute Maid.
HOUSTON -- With veteran right-hander Scott Feldman expected to miss six weeks following knee surgery performed Friday, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will return to the rotation and start Monday's game against the Orioles at Minute Maid Park.
Oberholtzer was pretty much a shoo-in to make the rotation out of Spring Training, but suffered a blister that put him on the disabled list. He made one start for the Astros on May 13 against the Giants but only lasted three innings when the skin covering his blister came off. The lefty made one rehab start and was going to make another for Triple-A Fresno when Feldman got hurt.
HOUSTON -- Despite having the best record in the American League, the Astros aren't a team without flaws. They strike out too often, they probably rely on home runs too much and their starting rotation isn't as deep as you'd like for a contender.
All those issues might lead to sleepless nights for manager A.J. Hinch, but he can rest his head comfortably each night when he thinks about his bullpen. Houston's relief corps, the source of so much angst the past few years, has lived up to preseason expectations and has emerged as one of the best in the game.
BALTIMORE -- The Astros entered the seventh inning Wednesday against the Orioles having gone 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and not being able to take advantage of having a runner at third base with less than two outs on three separate occasions.
In keeping with a familiar script, the Astros rallied late in the game and scored three times in the seventh, capped by a two-run homer by Evan Gattis, and managed to tie the score before losing, 5-4, to the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Statcast: Two Houston pitchers among top five in limiting exit velocity
By Mike Petriello
When Astros rookie Lance McCullers made his Major League debut on May 18, it took him all of two pitches to do something no other Houston starter has done all season long, before or since: throw a pitch harder than 94 mph. More than 14,000 pitches across baseball have come to the plate that fast so far this season; eight pitchers have done it more than 300 times by themselves. Other than a few particularly hard heaters from reliever Josh Fields, no Astro -- and certainly no one in the rotation -- had crossed the threshold.
In a sport that's always trying to find the next flame-throwing big thing -- average fastball velocity has increased slightly each year since 2008 -- the Astros have taken a completely different approach. They throw their fastballs softer than any team in baseball, with a Statcast™ perceived velocity of just 90.12 mph through Memorial Day. You might assume it's a just a lack of talent on a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons. However, it might actually be a concerted effort to look for something a little different than the traditional big heat -- and it's working.
BALTIMORE -- A struggling Orioles offense got a huge lift from Chris Davis Wednesday night as the slugger homered twice to power Baltimore to a 5-4 victory and a series win over the Astros.
Davis turned in his first multi-homer game of the season, going deep for a two-run homer in the fourth and a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the eighth off Houston reliever Tony Sipp after the Astros had rallied to tie the game with three runs in the seventh.
After an unprecedented three-year run of owning the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, the Astros won't get whomever they want this year. But they still have more spending power than any club.
Houston has an allocated bonus pool of $17,289,200 for the first 10 rounds. To put that amount in perspective, the largest bonus outlay by a team in a single Draft had been $17,005,700 by the 2011 Pirates, who paid a record $8 million to No. 1 overall choice Gerrit Cole and $5 million to second-rounder Josh Bell.
BALTIMORE -- The Astros bullpen has been so reliable this year that when something goes awry it comes as a surprise. That applies to veteran lefty Tony Sipp, who had gone 14 consecutive appearances without allowing a run before giving up a walk-off homer Thursday in Detroit.
After Josh Fields mowed down all four hitters he faced in the late innings Wednesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Sipp came in with one out in the eighth to face Chris Davis, who crushed the first pitch he saw and sent it high over the right-field wall to lift the Orioles to a 5-4 win over the Astros.
Correa's mammoth blast among Tuesday's best in MiLB
Astros No. 1 prospect launches huge homer for Fresno; Velasquez fans eight for Hooks
By Alex M. Smith
With Chicago Cubs phenom Kris Bryant reaching the threshold for rookie eligibility on Monday, MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list received a makeover, with Astros top prospect Carlos Correa moving up into Bryant's vacated No. 2 spot.
The future Houston infielder then promptly showed why he deserves an elite ranking, blasting a 424-foot home run completely out of Fresno's Chukchansi Park as part of a 2-for-4 effort on Tuesday night. The 2012 No. 1 overall Draft pick now has three homers and eight RBIs since being promoted to Triple-A Fresno on May 12.
Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
MLB.TV unveils new media player, price drop
By Mark Newman
Along with the new Web-based media player (version 5.0) that was introduced this week by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, there is another new reason to sign up now to watch live out-of-market games. The cost of a yearly subscription was lowered on Friday to $99.99 for MLB.TV Premium and $79.99 for MLB.TV.
This is the final weekend of May, and the price drop for MLB.TV reflects the fact that nearly a third of the regular season is in the books. The new HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download, and the new game scoreboard will make it easier to track games.
BALTIMORE -- When the game is on the line late, the Astros' offense has a habit for thriving under pressure. It's happened so much this year that there has to be something behind it, something tangible to explain why the late innings bring out the best.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch can't put his finger on exactly what causes his offense to come alive in the seventh inning and later, but he was happy to see his team ride that formula to a 4-1 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
BALTIMORE -- Jose Altuve of the Astros is the leading the American League second baseman on the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot at his position in the first round of balloting totals released on Tuesday. Altuve's 1,301,754 votes are nearly double of Omar Infante of the Royals, who's in second with 715,345 votes.
Altuve, a two-time All-Star, is aiming to become just the seventh player (10th time overall) in Astros history to earn a fan-elected start, and the first to do so since Houston moved to the AL for the 2013 season. He would join Craig Biggio (1995-98) and Jeff Kent (2004) as Houston second basemen to earn a fan election.
BALTIMORE -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow joined the team Monday after spending the weekend at Triple-A Fresno watching some of the organization's top prospects, including shortstop Carlos Correa and first baseman Jon Singleton, who's hitting .291 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs.
"We've got plenty of players there that could play a role up here this summer and it was good to connect with them," Luhnow said. "They've got a good thing going. They've got a really fun team and a lot of guys with Major League experience and a lot of guys that wish they were here in Houston with us and some guys that could be here this summer."
By Brian McTaggart and Connor Smolensky
BALTIMORE -- Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce each hit two-run home runs to send Astros ace Dallas Keuchel to his first loss since last August in the Orioles' 4-3 win in the series opener on Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Joseph lined a 1-1 pitch in the second inning into the first row of left-field seats to put the Orioles ahead, 2-0, and Pearce sent the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning over the wall in right-center to put Baltimore on top, 4-3.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
BALTIMORE -- We're not used to seeing Astros ace Dallas Keuchel allow many hitters to get the ball into the air, much less send a couple of balls over the fence the way Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce of the Orioles did Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The two-run home runs by Joseph in the second and Pearce in the seventh off Keuchel, who had allowed only one home run in his first nine starts, were enough for the Orioles to sink the Astros, 4-3, and send Keuchel to his first loss since last August, snapping his eight-game winning streak.
MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.
Reports of Byron Buxton's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
BALTIMORE -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch liked what he saw at the top of the batting order Monday afternoon with George Springer and Jose Altuve going a combined 5-for-9 with two runs scored. It was what happened after they were on base that proved to be frustrating.
The Astros were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and squandered several chances in the early innings against the Orioles, who used a pair of two-run homers to win the series opener, 4-3, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Houston leads the Majors with 81 runs scored after the 6th inning
By Chris Vannini
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- When the game gets late, the Astros get going, and it happened again Sunday against the Tigers.
Jason Castro's two-run single in the seventh and Marwin Gonzalez's RBI single in the eighth gave the Astros 81 runs scored in the seventh inning or later this year, which is the best in the Majors. The next closest team is Oakland with 70 runs.
Prospect becomes first player in Astros history to hit two pinch-hit home runs in one series
By Chris Vannini
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- It took Preston Tucker only 13 games to put himself in the Astros' record book.
In the sixth inning of Houston's 10-8 win over Detroit on Sunday, Tucker's three-run pinch-hit home run was his second of the four-game series, making him the first player in franchise history with two pinch-hit home runs in a single series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Both tied their respective games, and both are the first two home runs of his young Major League career.