Collin McHugh (2-3, 3.32) vs Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 4.39)
With all due respect and love to George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, and Jose Altuve, my favorite Astro these days is Collin McHugh. Partly because as Astros fans from the Dome days, we were raised to love great pitching. Partly because of the blogger-like-us camaraderie. Partly because everyone loves an out-of-nowhere success story. So as much fun as a game like last night was, with Springer leading an offensive explosion... for my money, my favorite games are like tonight. McHugh straight dominated the Royals lineup, and Houston's inefficient offense tonight provided just enough, leading the Astros to a season best fourth win in a row by a 3-0 final. The four-game win streak is Houston's first since September 9-13 last year, and the win improves the club to 12-13 in May and 21-32 overall.
On the Mound:
*As you could/should infer, Collin McHugh was the story again tonight. Doctor McWho went 7 innings for the second start in a row, turning in his fifth quality start in seven outings, and allowing no runs for the first time since his Astros debut back on April 22. His 9 strikeouts and 0 walks tonight were also his best since his April 22 debut, and he finished with a 7 IP / 5 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K line.
*Aside from (not) covering first base, Tony Sipp is still untouched as an Astro, getting another four up, four down with one K tonight, maintaining his perfect 0.00 ERA now through 9.2 IP.
*Chad Qualls did not get a save, as he only faced two batters with a three run lead in the 9th, but he did retire both of those batters, fanning one, to end the game.
At the Plate:
*After a season high 16 hits last night, the Astros set a new second best total with 12 hits tonight, but the aforementioned offensive inefficiency left 11 LOBsters stranded. Only three runs as a result, but McHugh made that more than enough.
*Alex Presley was the offensive star tonight, going 3x3 with a RBI on a sac fly. It was the second straight 3 H night for Alex, and he's got 10 hits in his last 5 games (10x18).
*Jason Castro had Houston's only XBH of the night, going 2x4 with a 2B, a R, a BB, and 2 K.
Robbie Bob Mike Grossman finally got off the schneid, going 2x4 with a SB tonight.
*No joy in Mudville, as George Springer did not hit another home run tonight. But at least he also did not strike out, finishing 1x4 with a BB.
*Matt Dominguez got the Astros on the board in the 4th with a RBI single, finishing 1x5 with a K.
*Jose Altuve keeps chugging along, going 1x5 with a K tonight.
*Dexter Fowler likewise keeps rolling, going 1x4 with a R and a BB.
*Marwin Gonzalez was rewarded for his career night at the plate last night with another start at SS today, and he responded with a 1x4 evening.
*Jesus Guzman walked in his only plate appearance, and scored on Presley's sac fly.
After George Springer led off the 4th with a fly out to right, Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro followed with back-to-back walks. Matt Dominguez then singled to Lorenzo Cain in center, scoring Fowler and moving Castro up to third when Cain couldn't pick up the ball. Kansas City would get one runner as far as third base on the second out of the 5th, but Houston pitching retired the final 14 Royals in order, so that 1-0 lead would stand up.
Man of the Match:
Collin McHugh! Do go read his blog, if somehow you haven't checked it out yet.
Goat of the Game:
Marc Krauss was the only Astro starter without a hit tonight, going 0x2 with a K before being lifted. 4x28 (.143) since May 14, and making the decision to promote Jonathan Singleton easier (provided JSiNG can keep his foot out of his Twitter mouth).