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HOU@PHI: McHugh fans eight over seven innings of work

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh will look to end a long winless drought when he takes the mound against the Twins at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday.

The right-hander is searching for his first win since June 3, though he's pitched pretty well of late. He's 0-6 with a 3.81 ERA in his last nine starts, and has allowed two runs and 10 hits in 13 1/3 innings in his last two starts.

"The wins are going to come," he said. "Team wins are more important than anything else. If we can get team wins, whether I get one or not, it doesn't matter. I just want to keep throwing the ball well and keep executing our game plan as well as possible and see what happens."

Despite the lack of wins, McHugh has pitched his way into Astros history by by recording at least four strikeouts in all 17 of his starts this season, a franchise record for pitchers to begin their career with the Astros. The last Houston starter to record at least four strikeouts in 17 straight starts during a single season was Darryl Kile in 1997.

The Twins will turn to righty Yohan Pino, who was mostly solid against the A's on Thursday, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings in a loss. Pino owns the lowest run support average of any Twins starter, and third lowest among Major League starters with at least nine starts at a mark of 2.47 runs per game. He's 1-4, 4.59 ERA with 11 walks and 37 strikeouts in nine starts.

"I feel I did OK," Pino said following his outing. "I feel I can do better. I missed a couple pitches. I left the ball up the in the zone and they hit it."

Minnesota's Joe Mauer, who was reinstated from the disabled list Monday, is aware of how much improvement the Astros have made from last season, when they lost a franchise-record 111 games, including the last 15 games of the season.

"They have a lot of talent," said Mauer. "We don't really know them as well as the Tigers, or anything like that. We know we better be ready to play. Those guys came up to Minnesota and played the game hard, and we have to be ready for them."

Twins: Mauer returns
Mauer was in the lineup Monday after being reinstated from the disabled list. He returned to the club after a rehab assignment at Class A Cedar Rapids. Mauer strained his right oblique July 2. He had no issues with the oblique while playing at Cedar Rapids.

"Just trying to keep going in same direction as the last week," said Mauer, who missed 34 games. "It's good to be back, see the guys. A lot of it is getting the timing back, still a work in progress."

After extending his hitting streak to 13 games with a third-inning double, Mauer delivered the decisive hit, a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth in a 4-2 win.

Astros: Porter has faith in Dominguez
Third baseman Matt Dominguez hasn't found much success in the second half, as his batting average is hovering around .230 since late June.

Dominguez, if he stays healthy, figures to finish the season near the numbers he posted last year in his first full season, when he hit .251 with a .286 on-base percentage and had 21 homers and 77 RBIs.

He's started every game at third base since May 23.

"There's still a lot of time left in the season," manager Bo Porter said. "If you look at Matt Dominguez's numbers, they're not too far off from where they were last year. When you look at the third-base position and how he stacks, you're talking about a guy that's going to hit 25 home runs and drive in 75, 80 runs and play a Gold Glove third base. That's a pretty good player."

Worth noting
• Astros outfielder Alex Presley (right oblique strain) will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday with the Tri-City ValleyCats of the NY-Penn League. He could return

• The Astros have the youngest roster in the Majors with an average age of 26.6. Comments