DETROIT -- When Astros pitcher Collin McHugh doesn't get a chance to compete with his curveball, it can make for a long night. McHugh was served a difficult reminder of that Friday night at Comerica Park when the Tigers tagged him for eight runs and 10 hits, both season highs, over 1 2/3 innings in the Astros' 14-6 loss.
It was McHugh's shortest outing since he recorded one out in his first start of the season April 6 in New York against the Yankees. He threw 50 pitches, including 38 strikes, Friday.
"They didn't really let me up for air," he said. "We made good pitches sometimes, and they found ways to get the bat to it -- and every mediocre, borderline pitch we made, they made us pay for it.
"Obviously, it's not the way I envisioned this start to go. The season's got a long way to go, and I think as a staff we've been throwing the ball really well, and we're not going to let one game define the rest of this road trip."
Nine of the 10 hits McHugh (7-7) allowed were singles, including four of the first five batters. Still, he had a chance to keep the Astros in the game when it was 2-2 entering the second, but the Tigers erupted for seven runs to take control.
After getting an out to start the second, six of the next seven batters reached against McHugh, and he was pulled after a single by Justin Upton.
"It just seemed like every ball that he left out over the plate they did some damage with," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They did a good job situational hitting. They put up a big number in the second inning. We couldn't recover. A lot of pitches to hit, a couple well-timed hits, a couple hits that found holes. They did about everything right against Collin tonight."
McHugh, who will likely pitch again Wednesday against Toronto in Houston, said he needs to put this start in his rearview mirror as quickly as possible.
"Here's the deal," he said. "You get 32 starts in a year, and you know you're going to have good ones, and you know you're going to have bad ones. You can't try to go back to the drawing board after each start just because it didn't go the way you planned or the way you wanted.
"I know what I do well; I know what I don't do well. Those are things we're going to go back and try to improve on over the course of the week, and get back out there in five days and get the job done against the next team."
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.