McHugh, Rasmus help Astros win home opener 8-2 over Royals
HOUSTON (AP) After what happened in his first start this season, Collin McHugh felt much better when he got through the first inning on Monday night.
''I was focused on getting through that first inning today,'' McHugh said. ''Once we got through that it was just kind of just go after them the rest of the game.''
McHugh bounced back from the shortest start of his career by pitching seven scoreless innings and Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer as the Houston Astros won their home opener over the Kansas City Royals, 8-2.
McHugh (1-1) allowed eight hits and struck out four in his first start since he allowed six runs and walked two in 1/3 inning of a 16-6 loss to the New York Yankees.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch didn't have any doubt that McHugh would put his bad outing behind him.
''He was exceptional and he pitched with a purpose tonight,'' Hinch said. ''I am glad he made the adjustment from being a careful pitcher dancing around the strike zone to attacking them with all of his pitches. He did a good job of setting the tone for our team and I thought it was important that we fed off that as a team.''
Carlos Correa had three hits and two RBIs, Jose Altuve had three hits and rookie Tyler White, who was named the American League player of the week earlier in the day, added a pair of hits for his fourth multi-hit game this year.
Chris Young (0-2) allowed nine hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Astros jumped on him early and were up by 1 in the first after an RBI double by Correa when Rasmus launched a towering shot to the second deck in right field to make it 3-0.
''I feel bad digging the team into a hole like that, having to play from behind,'' Young said. ''But it's a tough lineup.''
Luis Valbuena had an RBI double, Jason Castro drove in a run with a triple and Altuve had a run-scoring single in the fourth to push the lead to 6-0.
The Royals had trouble stringing hits together against McHugh. He got into a bit of a jam in the fifth inning with runners at first and second with one out. But Mike Moustakas grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but McHugh retired Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain to end the threat.
They avoided a shutout when Kendrys Morales connected off Tony Sipp for a two-run homer to left field in the eighth inning.
Eric Hosmer added three hits for the Royals, whose three-game winning streak ended.
Royals: OF Jarrod Dyson (right oblique strain) will continue his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday after taking a day off on Monday.
Astros: Right-hander Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) allowed three hits and one run with four strikeouts in three innings in his first rehabilitation start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday night. … DH Evan Gattis (sports hernia surgery) was activated from the disabled list after the game. INF Matt Duffy was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room on the roster.
Astros owner Jim Crane honored Correa for winning rookie of the year and Dallas Keuchel for his Cy Young Award by giving both of the players black Chevy Silverado pickup trucks. The players were welcomed onto the field as the shiny, new trucks were driven onto the warning track and close to the players.
''I don't have a truck here, so it's going to be nice,'' Correa said. ''Especially the streets here in downtown Houston are very bad, so it's good to drive a truck around.''
They were also each given paintings that depicted several different images of each player. After they received their gifts, Astros greats Jeff Bagwell and Roger Clemens came onto the field to congratulate Correa and Keuchel and throw out the ceremonial first pitches to them.
WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
A fan apparently threw a baseball into shallow right field as Royals right fielder Rey Fuentes chased after a triple hit by George Springer with one out in the eighth inning. Some of the Royals were confused by the extra ball, but Fuentes didn't see it until after he threw the real ball to second baseman Omar Infante.
''I saw it on the ground, and I was like, `Why is this ball here?''' Fuentes said.
WHAT AN ENTRANCE
When Houston backup catcher Erik Kratz was introduced before the game he tripped on the orange carpet the Astros laid out for the pregame and belly-flopped onto the ground. As soon as he got up, several Royals, who were standing on the field after being introduced, laughed and pointed at him, and about five of them tipped their caps to their former teammate, who spent parts of the last two seasons in Kansas City.
Royals: Kris Medlen makes his first start of 2016 on Tuesday. Medlen went 6-2 with a 4.01 ERA last season after returning from Tommy John surgery following the All-Star break.
Astros: Mike Fiers (0-0, 9.00) takes the mound on Tuesday. Fiers, who threw a no-hitter last season, had a tough time in his 2016 debut, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings.