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Big 3rd inning allows Astros to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

Evan Gattis continues his RBI binge while Luis Valbuena is all about that solo shot.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Collin McHugh continues to be a different pitcher than last year if just ever so slightly. He got in trouble in the 2nd inning when he was hit hard and ended up giving up 4 earned runs. The worst of those being a triple hit over a somewhat shallow positioned Jake Marisnick that plated Jimmy Paredes and Steve Pearce (when's the last time 2 former Astros scored on the same play against the Astros?). Outside of this bad inning, McHugh was very good. As a matter of fact. He faced the minimum in all other innings before Pat Neshek took over in the 8th. Digging a little deeper into McHugh, it appears that he is giving up more contact this season. I don't know if this is by design or just a by-product of hitters having a season's worth of film to study on him. My guess is that it is not by design, because he has not changed his approach drastically according to PITCHf/x. There has been a subtle change though and it's worth noting. He has decreased his fastball percentage from 40.9% to 32.6% and increased his cutter (although it registers as a slider on PITCHf/x) from 30.5% to 37.3%.

Season Team W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
2014 Astros 11 9 0 25 25 154.2 9.14 2.39 0.76 0.259 76.1% 42.1% 9.5% 2.73 3.11 3.11 3.2
2015 Astros 6 2 0 11 11 70.2 7.39 1.66 1.02 0.317 71.8% 46.7% 11.6% 4.33 3.71 3.6 1.0

McHugh was due some regression from last season, but he has wandered over into the other side of the regression farm now. He has pitched better than his ERA indicates.

Neshek was fantastic as always. He also continued his no free passes streak.

Luke Gregerson struck out the side in the 9th to notch another save. Gregerson's only rough patch a couple of weeks ago came at a time he was away from the team twice for personal issues. If there's ever a time to talk about the human side of baseball, this is it. Since, he has been back and has not had to miss anymore for whatever was going on in his life, he has been back to his dominant self.

Evan Gattis continued to turnip the beet with a majestic 3 run moonshot. This was followed up with Luis Valbuena's patented 12th solo homerun of the season.

The Astros were able to add an insurance run in the 8th when Luis Valbuena and Chris Carter both walked. Valbuena advanced to 3rd on a Hank Conger fly ball. Marwin Gonzalez put the ball in play to the right side and Chris Davis came home with the ball to try and nab Valbuena, but a nifty slide allowed him to score and help pad the lead.