Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Collin McHugh dazzled in his second start of the season to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in the finale of this four-game set from Minute Maid Park.
McHugh took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning and retired the first two batters he faced before running into trouble. Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Alberto Callaspo's bloop single to center before Raul Valdes relieved McHugh and got Craig Gentry to fly out to end the game.
McHugh (2-0), who finished his outing allowing a run on two hits with seven strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings, bounced around early in his career, making brief stints with the Mets and Rockies before finding a home in Houston. He went 6 2/3 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts in his season debut against the Mariners on April 22.
"He kind of slings the ball a little bit (but) stuff-wise I feel like he's OK. I don't think it was anything special," A's designated hitter Josh Donaldson said. "But he changed speeds well and whenever you're able to get strike one early, it's going to benefit you."
Jose Altuve homered for the Astros. He and Jonathan Villar both had two hits with a pair of RBI.
Tommy Milone (0-2) allowed four runs on five hits over 6 2/3 frames to absorb the loss.
After Oakland scored 10 and 12 runs, respectively, in taking the first two games of this set, Houston won the next two. The Astros are 4-3 in their last seven games after dropping seven straight.
"They're a really good team, so to be able to take two from them especially here at home to end the series, builds momentum and is huge," said McHugh.
Houston manufactured its first run in the top of the third inning. Villar hit a ground-rule double to right and Altuve singled to put runners on second and third with one out. Dexter Fowler's grounder to third plated Villar.
The score stayed 1-0 until the home half of the seventh, when Altuve's first homer of the season highlighted a four-run frame.
Matt Dominguez was on first with two outs when Carlos Corporan singled to put two on. Villar then delivered a two-run triple to deep left, chasing Milone from the game.
Dan Otero took the hill and served up Altuve's two-run homer on his very first pitch.
McHugh allowed the second batter of the game, Jed Lowrie, to reach on a single before holding the A's hitless until the ninth.