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Astros 5, Rangers 1: McHugh, offense spoil Opening Day for in-state rivals

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McHugh had a great outing in his season debut, and the offense got involved early.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros had their second Opening Day appearance of the week, this time in enemy territory.  They made the short trip to Arlington to start their defense of the Silver Boot trophy, but more importantly they wanted to get the offense going after a lackluster performance in their opening series.

Jose Altuve took a lot of the suspense out of whether the bats would work today, as he singled up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Rangers starter Derek Holland.  "There will be no no-hitter today" he said as he ran to first base.  (I think that is what he said.  I am not so good a lip reading.)  He was then picked off, so it was a small victory.  Following the pickoff, Jed Lowrie, the closest thing the team had to an offensive hero on Thursday, did it again.  He hit a home run to left to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Holland would come out of the game after pitching only one inning with tightness in his shoulder.  (Reports say he may be out for a month.)  This started a theme for the Rangers opening day.  Two of his teammates, Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Rua, would also leave the game with injuries (back spasms and an ankle injury, respectively).  In the fifth inning the bottom of the lineup got into the act.  Facing former Astro Anthony Bass, Jake Marisnick hit a 3-2 double to drive in Jason Castro to take a 2-0 lead.  Marisnick would later drive in his second run of the game with a single, sending Robbie Grossman home with the third run.  In the top of the ninth with 2 outs, they tacked on a couple of insurance runs when Colby Rasmus (who came in as a defensive replacement for Grossman) hit a 2-run homer, driving in Castro (who had walked).

On the other side of the ball, Collin McHugh took the mound for his season debut.  He picked up where he left off last season, which means he got a lot of strikeouts and grounders.  McHugh gave up 1 run on 5 hits and a couple of walks in 6 innings of work.  The bullpen took over in the seventh inning.  Pat Neshek, Chad Qualls and Luke Gregerson combined for 1 hit, 4 strikeouts, and zero walks over the last 3 frames.  (Note:  I think I am in love with the new bullpen.)

These two teams will meet again tomorrow at 7:05.  The starting pitchers will be Roberto Hernandez, against Yovani Gallardo.

FUN FACTS

The Astros scored all their runs today with 2 outs.

The 7-8-9 hitters today were 7 for 10, with 4 runs and 4 RBI...and 1 K.

This was McHugh's 8th straight win dating back to last season.

For those worried about such things, the team only recorded 7 Ks today, with only 1 player with multiple.  (Springer-2)

TWEET OF THE DAY