Feldman comes up clutch, spins efficient win

Feldman comes up clutch, spins efficient win

ANAHEIM -- Considering he hadn't started a game in more than two months and hadn't pitched longer than 2 2/3 innings over that stretch, Astros right-hander Scott Feldman's five innings of work in Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium was as clutch as it gets.

Feldman, starting for the first time since April 24 because Lance McCullers is dealing with a blister, picked up his first win as a starter since Aug. 12, 2015 against San Francisco after allowing three singles, no walks and one run, which was unearned.

"That was something me and [manager] A.J. [Hinch] talked about when he took me out, was at the beginning of the day if you would have told us that we'd go five [innings] and we'd have the lead it was probably a pretty good day," Feldman said. "The guys came out and swung the bats great. Really just can't say enough about the job Jason [Castro] does behind the dish every night. He makes it a lot easier on us pitchers."

Feldman began the year in the rotation but was pulled after four starts to make room for rookie Chris Devenski. He went 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA as a starter and was 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in relief. In 24 1/3 innings, Feldman allowed 21 hits, struck out 19 and walked only two as a reliever.

The only run he allowed Tuesday came as the result of a two-out error on third baseman Luis Valbuena in the third, and he needed only eight pitches to complete the fourth inning, which bought him the fifth and a chance to win the game. He worked a 1-2-3 fifth and finished with 65 pitches.

"Probably the best-case scenario for us given the length of the game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We really wanted to get him into the fourth or fifth. He was pretty efficient. We cost him a few pitches early in the game, which made me a little nervous.

"He responded with a quick fourth that got him that fifth inning for us. We really needed it. We had the lead so it was nice to use some one-inning guys to finish the game. Feldman was great. I thought he was in command of a lot of his pitches. I know he was back in a starter routine to start the game, and he responded as we expected."

McCullers should rejoin the rotation Monday, likely sending Feldman back to the bullpen. When asked if he shot get another shot to be a starter, Feldman was coy.

"It's out of my hands," he said. "I mean, all I can really do is show up and try my hardest to get guys out and I love starting. I also love being on this team. It's a fun team to be on and we're playing very well right now .Those are decisions that A.J. and the front office make. I love starting, so …"

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.