Things seem to have finally started clicking for the Houston Astros. In light of an awful April, the Astros have started to play baseball more reminiscent to the 2015 club. The pitching has been on point for the most part and tonight was no exception.
Collin McHugh stepped onto the mound tonight having pitched at least six innings in his last three starts. He's certainly started to settle back into a more dependable arm the further we've gone into the season. Tonight, McHugh put up a pretty impressive performance, striking out 10 Orioles over 5 1/3 innings of work while giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and one walk.
McHugh gave up one run in the 1st inning off of back-to-back doubles (Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop) before settling in through the next several innings. He'd run into trouble again in the 6th inning thanks to some not so great outfield work by Tony Kemp. One run would score after McHugh threw a wild pitch with Pedro Alvarez at bat, scoring Chris Davis and advancing Mark Trumbo to third. Trumbo would later score on an Alvarez single.
That would be all the Orioles could muster against Astros pitching. Pat Neshek relieved McHugh in the 6th inning, throwing 2/3 inning, giving up one hit, one walk and striking out one. Ken Giles would follow up with a dominating 7th inning, walking one while striking out the side. Will Harris was somehow able to nearly match that performance, throwing the 8th inning giving up one hit, one walk and striking out two. Luke Gregerson would shut the door on Baltimore, their bats heard nevermore as he gave up one hit while striking out two.
Let's recap for one minute. The Houston Astros pitching staff struck out 18 batters tonight. That's pretty awesome! How could the Astros bats match such a dominating performance?
Well, for that, they'd break out the big lumber. Two Astros hitters went deep tonight, and they went deep with authority. Evan Gattis (2 run HR) and Luis Valbuena (solo HR) both smoked the ball over the fence and injected some life into the home crowd. Gattis continues to crush the ball after returning from his rehab stint with tonight's home run being his 5th of the season.
The Houston Astros seem to have found a bit of a stride and improve to 19-28 after tonight's 4-3 victory. The Astros face off against the Orioles once again tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. Kevin Gausman and Lance McCullers are tomorrow evening's scheduled starters.