*The Astros shutout their opponent for the fifth time this season, and the third time in the last nine games, with a 2-0 win over Baltimore. The Orioles came into the game with a .254 average, the 4th-highest BA in the AL. Last night was the 3rd time Baltimore had been shutout all year.
*Joe Musgrove threw 7IP, 4H/0ER, 6K:0BB in his best start of the year. Prior to last night, Musgrove hadn't recorded 20 outs in a start, and had not put up a Zero in the run column. His 75 Game Score is a career-high. Musgrove:
I've been doing a lot of work in between all my starts, really, just trying to find what that little missing piece is. I feel like I found it this week...
...I'm kind of happy about being able to get some of the trust back with some of my teammates and stuff. Not to say they've been down on me, but it's tough to go out there and put together bad outing after bad outing and feel like your teammates aren't really confident going into that day.
We swung the bat better than the score would indicate, we made some critical pitches, obviously, when they did get a couple of guys on base. From Joe Musgrove winning virtually every critical moment of the game, we get out of here with a win.
*Hinch, on Musgrove:
I thought his execution of his secondary pitches was the difference in the game. Against this lineup, you can't stay in a pattern and you can't just feed them fastballs. His breaking balls were both pretty good. But the conviction he pitched with tonight was pretty special.
*Carlos Beltran's home run moved him into 50th on the all-time HR list.
*Jake Marisnick's homer - his 6th of the season - eclipses in 35 games his HR total from 118 games in 2016. He is averaging a home run every 11.5 plate appearances, up (or down, I guess) from homering every 62.2 PAs in 2016. Marisnick's WAR is higher than Bregman, Gurriel, and Beltran combined.
*The Astros didn't draw a walk for just the 2nd time this season. They lost the previous time it happened, on April 29 against Oakland, 2-1. The Orioles didn't draw a walk, either.
*Chris Devenski loaded the bases with nobody out in the 8th before getting a strikeout and two fly balls to escape the jam. He's stranding 74.4% of baserunners this season, down from a tick over 78% in 2016. Hinch:
Devo had done nothing wrong and ended up in one of the biggest jams he'd ever been in.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, teams can expect to score 2.37 runs.
*Arlington and Anaheim both lost, so the Astros have a 9-game lead in the division for the first time since 1998, when the 102-60 Astros won the NL Central by 13 games.
*Before Musgrove's strong start last night the Astros were considering moving Peacock into the rotation to replace Fiers or Musgrove next week against the 1st-place Twins. The Twins will not face Keuchel or McCullers in that series.
*The Orioles sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, so the Astros will face Alec Asher on Sunday instead.
*Correa and Marwin started wearing batting helmets with a protective face guard.
*Juan Centeno and Jordan Jankowski were optioned back to Fresno.
*Here's a good article on 46-year veteran groundskeeper Willie Berry.
*Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia is holding a showcase in Mexico this weekend, and the Astros are among the interested teams. Garcia has been described as a "Manny Machado-type player with less power."
*Frankie Tuesday set a team- and career-high with nine strikeouts last night for Fresno in an 8-7 win over Tacoma. Martes threw 5.2IP, 6H/2R (1ER), 9K:1BB. Side note: Andrew Aplin had an outfield assist at home for Tacoma.
Note: No Hot Links tomorrow (Sunday). Back at it Monday.