SEATTLE (AP) — Collin McHugh didn't know he was starting Tuesday until late the night before. When he took the mound, he surprised just about everyone with his performance.
McHugh struck out a career-high 12 in his season debut to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-2 win against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, extending Seattle's losing streak to eight games.
McHugh (1-0) was told he was being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday and flew to Seattle. It wasn't until he got to the team hotel late Monday night that he found out he was going to start for the Astros on Tuesday.
Before the game, Houston coach Bo Porter characterized McHugh as a "pitch to contact guy," but the Mariners made almost no contact. McHugh struck out the first three batters he faced to set the tone for his first win in 10 career starts.
"That was outstanding. That's what you call seizing the opportunity," Porter said.
The right-hander didn't walk a batter, giving up three hits in 6 2-3 shutout innings.
"I don't think anybody prepares to go out and strike out a bunch of people. But I knew I had pretty decent command today with two or three pitches," McHugh said. "It was really good to kind of get the proverbial gorilla off your back with a W."
McHugh's stuff caught the Mariners off guard as well, as they only reached second once against him.
"He was a little different than the scouting report we got. He was 94 (miles an hour) with a pretty good cut slider," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He threw exceptionally well tonight."
The Astros offense gave McHugh plenty to work with, as Jason Castro and Chris Carter each hit homers to give Houston a 3-0 lead after two innings.
Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-3) struck out eight over six innings and only allowed three hits, but they included the two costly homers.
Three at-bats into the game, Castro just cleared the left field wall for a two-run homer, his fourth. Carter followed in the second inning with a shot to left that landed in the second deck for his first homer of the year.