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Singleton stars as Astros top Angels

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 04 2014 12:27:16 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 04 2014 12:33:30 AM CDT
Jon Singleton first game, Houston Astros

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

HOUSTON -

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh tossed five scoreless innings Tuesday night but was upstaged by the major league debut of first baseman Jon Singleton, who homered in his final at-bat to help lift Houston to a 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park.

Singleton finished 1-for-3 with a bases-loaded walk and two RBIs, the latter coming via a 406-foot shot into the Astros bullpen in right-center field in the eighth inning. Singleton victimized Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, who then followed by allowing another solo home run one at-bat later, this one to Astros designated hitter Chris Carter.

Angels outfielders Collin Cowgill and Josh Hamilton smacked solo home runs in the top of the eighth, their fourth and third, respectively, to cut the Astros' lead to 5-2. But Singleton and Carter immediately put an end to the Angels' comeback hopes with their electric power display.

"Fantastic. Amazing. I can't even begin to go into words to describe how great it feels like," Singleton said of his homer.

"When I was young and I would dream about this day it was kind of a blur. But now that it's happened I realize how thankful and how grateful I am that I am here in this position."

Singleton crushed a 3-1 fastball for his first career home run, capping a whirlwind 36 hours that included his signing a five-year, $10 million extension that precluded his promotion from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Carter followed with his ninth homer of the season, an opposite-field shot to right field, also on a 3-1 count, marking the first time the Astros (25-34) hit home runs in consecutive at-bats this season.

McHugh (4-3) labored yet proved effective enough, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four over 97 pitches. He struggling finding his rhythm but nevertheless extended his scoreless innings streak to 13 dating back to May 21 against the Angels (30-27).

"Early in the game it looked like he had a really good fastball and then his fastball command got away from him," Astros manager Bo Porter said of McHugh. "And then he started using his breaking ball more and then he lost the sharpness of his breaking ball. To go five innings and give us a scoreless five innings took a lot of effort."

After striking out in his first at-bat against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson (6-5), Singleton worked a four-pitch walk to force in fellow rookie George Springer and bump the Houston lead to 3-0 in the third. Springer walked to load the bases ahead of catcher Jason Castro, whose two-run single to right field broke the scoreless tie and keyed the rally.

Two batters after Singleton recorded his first RBI, left fielder Robbie Grossman followed with a two-run single that chased Wilson and pushed Houston to a 5-0 lead. Grossman skillfully flipped a 3-2 slider into shallow center, scoring Castro and third baseman Matt Dominguez.

"C.J. had a tough one," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He wasn't feeling well from the beginning, and he just couldn't get through it. Getting the ball in the zone was a struggle for C.J. tonight."

Wilson entered with a 3-1 record, 1.99 ERA and two saves in 11 career appearances in Houston. His sixth career start at Minute Maid Park proved forgettable, with five runs, six hits and four walks sullying his ledger. Wilson threw 69 pitches over 2 2/3 innings, including 33 balls.

"I just had nothing in the tank," Wilson said. "I didn't pitch very well, which is unfortunate, because our team needed that game tonight. You're going to have a game like this every two years or something like that. You just get over it and move on."

NOTES: The Astros promoted 1B Jon Singleton from Triple-A Oklahoma City after signing him to a five-year, $10 million extension that could pay him $30 million over eight years in three option years are picked up. Singleton, 22, made his major league debut Tuesday. ... 1B Marc Krauss was optioned to Oklahoma City. ... Astros RF George Springer was selected the American League Rookie of the Month after hitting .294/.385/.647 with 10 homers, 25 RBIs and 22 runs in May. He is the fourth Houston player to earn the honor. ... Angels LF Josh Hamilton returned to action after missing 48 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb. ... The Angels claimed LHP Wade LeBlanc off waivers from the New York Yankees, reinstated RHP Dane De La Rosa from the DL and optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake, selected the contract of RHP Cam Bedrosian from Double-A Arkansas, and optioned RHP Michael Kohn to Salt Lake.