- Associated Press - Monday, May 30, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Houston Astros needed Collin McHugh to pitch deep into the game after using eight pitchers to get through 13 innings the night before.

A five-hitter and his first career complete game did the trick nicely.

McHugh struck out eight to give Houston’s bullpen a much-needed rest, Jason Castro had three RBIs and the Astros continued their recent surge with an 8-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

“He was in complete control of the game from the onset,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Not only did he give us length, he gave us quality.”

The Astros jumped on Edwin Escobar (0-1) in his first big league start, scoring eight runs off the left-hander in 3 1/3 innings.

Castro hit a two-run double off Escobar in the third inning and Houston had 13 hits overall to win for the sixth time in seven games. Astros leadoff hitter George Springer added three hits, two runs and an RBI.

The cushion was more than enough for McHugh (5-4).

The right-hander gave up a solo homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning before retiring 21 of the next 22 batters. Hinch had Michael Feliz warming up in the bullpen after Jake Lamb homered in the ninth inning, but McHugh was able to finish off Houston’s first complete game since Mike Fiers’ no-hitter last Aug. 21.

“Obviously, it’s what every starter wants every time, but it’s a little more rare these days,” McHugh said of the complete game. “Our bullpen’s been holding us up and to be able to give them a blow feels good.”

McHugh struck out 10 in his previous outing, a 4-3 win over Baltimore, and was sharp again.

He made a mistake in the first inning and Goldschmidt made him pay for it, splashing the first pitch he saw into the pool in right-center for a solo homer.

The right-hander kept the Diamondbacks mostly guessing after that with a mix of upper-80s fastballs and big-breaking curveballs. Jean Segura hit a run-scoring triple in the eighth inning and Lamb homered in the ninth, but the Diamondbacks were never able to string together much against McHugh.

“He used all portions of the zone,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “He bounced a bunch of breaking balls that we swung at. He did a nice job and I was glad to see us get a couple there at the end.”

Escobar, who made two relief appearances with Boston in 2014, was shaky from the start after being called up from Triple-A Reno. He hit Springer with a curveball to open the game and allowed four runs in a second inning that included three find-the-right-hole hits.

Castro drove in a run with a flare to left, Springer drove in another with a check swing inside the first base bag. Jose Altuve followed with a flare that right fielder Michael Bourn misplayed, allowing another run to score, and Carlos Correa closed it by lining a run-scoring single to left.

Castro, who was 2 for 16 in Houston’s last home stand, added a two-run double off the wall in the third. Altuve drove in another run with the 2,000th triple in Astros’ history in the fourth and Correa’s RBI single made it 8-1.

Escobar allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits.

“He was inconsistent with the fastball and the sider was moving a lot,” said Welington Castillo, Arizona’s catcher. “He just didn’t have really good command today, but his stuff is pretty good.”


Correa was at the opposite end of defensive gems in consecutive innings.

The Astros shortstop had the first one, diving to snag Yasmany Tomas’ hard-hit liner in the fourth inning. Lamb was just as impressive at third base in the fifth, diving left to snag Correa’s one-hopper and getting up in time to throw him out at first.


Astros: CF Carlos Gomez is expected to be activated and be in the lineup Tuesday against Arizona. He has been out since May 17 with a bruised ribcage. Houston will option INF Colin Moran to Triple-A Fresno.

Diamondbacks: Arizona sent the MRI of RHP Rubby De La Rosa to Dr. James Andrews for evaluation. He performed Tommy John surgery on De La Rosa in 2011.


Astros: RHP Lance McCullers, who will start against Arizona on Tuesday, is coming off his first win of the season after striking out 10 against Baltimore.

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his past five starts heading into Tuesday’s game.

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