(SportsNetwork.com) - Collin McHugh will have a tough time trying to duplicate his first major league victory, but nonetheless he'll try to give the Houston Astros another lift in the finale of a four-game set on Sunday afternoon against the Oakland Athletics.
McHugh was called upon to replace the injured Scott Feldman on Tuesday versus the Seattle Mariners and his debut with the Astros could not have gone much better. He hurled 6 2/3 scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a 5-2 win, striking out 12 without issuing a walk.
It gave the 26-year-old McHugh, claimed off waivers from Colorado in December, his first major league win, snapping an eight-decision losing streak in what was his 10th career start and 16th MLB appearance.
"It's a huge lift," Houston manager Bo Porter said of McHugh. "Obviously losing Scott (Feldman) was a big blow to our ballclub, but again he took advantage of an opportunity and obviously we needed it."
The 26-year-old's 12 strikeouts tied him with Randy Johnson (1998) for the second most by a pitcher in his Astros debut, behind only the 15 that J.R. Richard fanned in 1971.
McHugh has never before faced Oakland, which sends left-hander Tommy Milone to the mound today.
Milone is 0-1 with a 4.24 earned run average through three starts and is still looking to pitch past six innings for the first time on the season. The 27- year-old picked up a second straight no-decision on Tuesday versus Texas, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in six frames.
Milone is 1-0 in four previous starts against the Astros with a 4.62 ERA.
Houston snapped an eight-game losing streak to Oakland with Saturday night's 7-6 victory, keyed by a four-run eighth inning. Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro both had run-scoring singles in the frame, while George Springer and Marc Krauss also plated runs with ground outs.
The A's, who won 15 of 19 versus the Astros last season and swept a three-game at home last weekend against Houston, nearly rallied as Brandon Moss belted a three-run homer in the ninth inning, but Raul Valdes came on in relief to fan John Jaso and Jed Lowrie to earn his first save since 2010.
Chris Carter hit a two-run homer and Fowler added a solo shot for the Astros, who broke a three-game skid.
Sean Doolittle failed to record an out in the eighth and yielded four hits and as many runs for the A's to take the loss.
"Sometimes you don't have your best stuff," Doolittle admitted. "You want to be a guy that's counted on repeatedly in those situations. You have to figure out a way to get it done."
The Athletics, who got an RBI from both Coco Crisp and Lowrie, lost for the fourth time in six tries.