ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Collin McHugh picked up where he left off as a rookie pitcher for the Houston Astros, who finally put together some offense as well.
McHugh pitched six solid innings to win his eighth consecutive decision, Jed Lowrie and Colby Rasmus homered and the Astros had more runs and hits than in their first three games combined, winning 5-1 on Friday to spoil the home debut of new Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
“That’s the best way to win. When you have guys who can contribute every day,” Lowrie said. “You don’t have to rely on one person.”
Rangers starter Derek Holland (0-1) left after one inning because of tightness in his left shoulder, and the left-hander will be out at least six weeks after being diagnosed with a sprain.
Texas outfielders Shin-Soo Choo (back spasms) and Ryan Rua (sprained right ankle) also made early exits because of injuries. Choo was feeling better afterward, but Rua had a protect boot on his foot.
McHugh (1-0), who was 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA his final 10 starts as a rookie last season, struck out four and allowed one run.
“Last year’s last year. Last year happened. Streaks in baseball are great,” McHugh said. “But last year, I don’t put a whole of weight into what was done six months ago. That’s behind me. We’ve got a one-game winning streak. Anytime you get a win against a division opponent, it’s huge.”
Lowrie hit a solo homer in the first off Holland. Rasmus had a two-run shot in the ninth of closer Neftali Feliz pitching in a non-save situation.
No. 9 hitter Jake Marisnick had three of Houston’s 10 hits and drove in two runs. The Astros totaled only three runs and eight hits in their season-opening, three-game series against Cleveland.
Jose Altuve, the reigning major league batting champion off to a 2-for-16 start this season, had a single on the first pitch of the game. But he was picked off second base by Holland just before Lowrie’s second homer of the season. Lowrie’s ninth-inning home run a day earlier broke a combined no-hit bid by Cleveland.
Marisnick had an RBI double in the fifth, and an RBI single two innings later after Robbie Grossman doubled.
“We had a lot of base runners on today. We capitalized on some pitches to hit,” said first-year manager A.J. Hinch. “I thought we scored in different ways, which is nice to see out of our offense.”
Anthony Bass took over for Holland in the second, and allowed one run in five innings. The right-hander had a defensive gem in the fifth when he had a diving backhanded stab to catch Grossman’s popped-up bunt and turned that into a double play. “Anthony Bass did a tremendous job and gave us exactly what we needed,” Banister said.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock, who is rehabbing after hip surgery, allowed no hits in 4 2-3 innings in a start for Triple-A Fresno. He walked five batters and hit another one. “It’s good that he was hard to hit,” Hinch said. … RHP Josh Fields (right groin) threw live BP in Kissimmee, Florida, and next will pitch for Fresno, likely this weekend.
Rangers: RHP Tanner Scheppers (right ankle) struck out all three batters he faced for Double-A Frisco. The next step is pitching in consecutive games, which is the plan Saturday and Sunday.
Astros: RHP Roberto Hernandez, who went to spring training on a minor league deal after pitching last year for Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers, makes his Houston debut. The 2010 AL All-Star with Cleveland was 3-0 in his five spring training games to earn a rotation spot.
Rangers: Yovani Gallardo is from Fort Worth, and was acquired by Texas in January. The right-hander, who lost the season opener at Oakland, makes his home debut for the Rangers.
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