Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Collin McHugh picked up his first big-league win as the Houston Astros belted three home runs in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Safeco Field.
McHugh (1-0) was making his first start of the season in place of the injured Scott Feldman and dazzled into the seventh inning. The 26-year-old righty struck out 12 with no walks and only allowed three hits in his stellar outing.
Chris Carter and Jason Castro both homered and drove in two runs while Matt Dominguez added a solo blast for Houston, which has won the first two meetings of this three-game series on the heels of a seven-game skid.
"It's a huge lift," Houston manager Bo Porter said of McHugh. "Obviously losing Scott (Feldman) was a big blow to our ball club, but again he took advantage of an opportunity and obviously we needed it."
Erasmo Ramirez (1-3) was charged with three runs on three hits and three walks while fanning eight over six frames as Seattle suffered an eighth straight loss.
McHugh was pulled with two outs in the seventh despite only throwing 89 pitches, with an efficient 61 going for strikes.
Raul Valdes came on in relief and promptly walked Kyle Seager before Justin Smoak sent a no-doubter over the wall in left to pull Seattle within 4-2.
"I think as a group, it's not really see more pitches but when you get a pitch to drive you can't miss it," said Smoak. "It's a tough league, it's not easy. When you're not feeling great you just have to put up a good at-bat and it's something we are all trying to do right now."
Carter's RBI single in the eighth made it a three-run game, and Josh Fields closed out the win in the ninth for his second save of the season.
Houston's rare home run barrage started in the first, as Castro followed up Dexter Fowler's one-out walk with a opposite-field blast just over the left- field wall.
Carter took Ramirez's hanging 0-2 breaking ball deep to left in the second, and a pair of Alex Presley defensive gems in the bottom half kept the Astros in front by a 3-0 margin.
The left fielder first threw out Corey Hart trying to stretch a single into a double, then ended the inning with a leaping grab at the warning track to rob Smoak of a hit.
Dominic Leone served up Dominguez's fourth home run of the season in the seventh.
McHugh had pitched to an ugly 8.94 ERA over 15 appearances -- nine starts -- in stints with the Mets and Rockies the past two years ... Houston has won six straight in Seattle.