McHugh had to battle to keep streak alive

Astros pitcher wins 10th straight, despite not having best stuff

McHugh had to battle to keep streak alive

SEATTLE -- He wasn't nearly as dominant as he was a year ago when he struck out 12 batters in 6 2/3 innings at Safeco Field in the game that changed his career, but Astros starter Collin McHugh battled through seven innings for his 10th consecutive win Tuesday night.

McHugh improved to 3-0 by holding the Mariners to three runs and seven hits in seven innings in the Astros' 6-3 come-from-behind win at Safeco Field. McHugh's 10-game win streak, which dates to last season, is the longest by an Astros pitcher since Wade Miller won a franchise-record 12 in a row in 2002.

He's 10-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 11 starts since Aug. 12, 2014.

"I don't put a whole lot of emphasis on winning streaks," McHugh said. "Tonight was big. To be able to battle through some innings was tough. It was probably the best three, four, five, maybe in baseball at this point with [Robinson] Cano, [Nelson] Cruz and [Kyle] Seager. To know those guys are coming up with guys on base every inning, to be able to battle through that, keep it within striking distance and our guys just piled it on. It was nice. We'll take it for sure."

McHugh didn't enjoy a clean inning until the fifth and sixth, during a stretch when he sent down seven in a row. Brad Miller led off the seventh with a single, but McHugh came back to get a double play that allowed him to finish the inning and ultimately get the win when the Astros rallied in the eighth.

"I had a great pregame bullpen," he said. "That was probably the best one I've thrown all year and then to come out in the game and out of the chute lose touch, lose feel. It was a grind from that point on. We had to battle at the beginning of the game.

"Sometimes you've got like a machine gun and sometimes you've got a pocket knife. It was a pocket knife day. That's what my college coach used to say. It was true. It was a battle for seven innings. Our guys picked me up every way they could."

McHugh's seven innings allowed the Astros to rest some key members of a bullpen, which picked up five innings the night before.

"It was cold out there and he just sort of gutted it out pitch by pitch and minimized damage," manager A.J. Hinch said. "When they did get guys on base, he was giving up one-run innings and that kept us hanging in there until the big inning. Getting him through seven on a night where he wasn't perfect is a sign of a really, really good Major League pitcher."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.