McHugh strikes out 3 over 3 innings as Astros blank Blue Jays split squad 1-0



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DUNEDIN, Florida — Collin McHugh struck out three in three solid innings and the Houston Astros blanked a Toronto Blue Jays split squad 1-0 on Monday.

McHugh gave up a double to Jose Reyes in the first and singles by Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar in the third. In his spring debut last Thursday against Philadelphia, the right-hander tossed two hitless innings.

The 27-year-old McHugh was a bright spot in Houston's rotation last season, going 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA in 25 starts as a rookie.

"McHugh's been great," first-year Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm really impressed with how he mixes his pitches. . He seems to have his full complement of pitches and he's really working on handling his position and the control of the running game."

Toronto righty Marcus Stroman yielded two hits, walked two and struck out three in 2 2-3 innings.

Jake Marisnick singled home L.J. Hoes in the sixth.

Toronto also lost 1-0 on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

STARTING TIME

Blue Jays: Stroman said he's looking forward to developing a relationship with new catcher Russell Martin and viewed their first live outing together as a success.

"I'm trying to get to learn him as much as possible and he's trying to get to learn me," Stroman said. "It's not an easy process. I throw a pretty good amount of pitches, so getting on the same page is going to take a little bit of time. But today was awesome."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Mark Appel, the No. 1 pick of the 2013 draft, was scratched from his scheduled inning of work as a precaution because of tightness in his forearm.

"He was as close to a healthy scratch as they get," Hinch said. "We had a lot of innings here, so it was a pretty easy decision when he's fatigued like that to not pitch him."

Blue Jays: LHP Brett Cecil is scheduled to resume throwing on Tuesday. Cecil, a candidate for the team's closer role, was expected to pitch an inning in relief last Friday against the Orioles, but was shut down with left shoulder soreness. An MRI later showed mild inflammation in his rotator cuff. ... OF Dayan Viciedo was a late scratch from the lineup because of a right foot infection and is listed as day-to-day. Chris Dickerson took Viciedo's place in left and went 0 for 3.

IZTURIS IMPRESSING

After being limited to just 11 games last season because of a torn ligament in his left knee, INF Maicer Izturis has impressed the Blue Jays with his standout defense and full bill of health this spring.

Izturis, who is in the mix to be the team's starting second baseman, showed off his range with a diving grab in the second inning of Sunday's loss to the Pirates, robbing Jaff Decker of a hit.

"I think he's coming in knowing that he's competing for playing time," said bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who managed the split-squad game while John Gibbons was in Lakeland.

"When you think about, this is their livelihood and they know it can be taken away or the situation can change. We have some good players here in camp and I think he's come in here prepared. . Maybe if it's not one role, he can fill another role because of his versatility."

UP NEXT

Astros: Brett Oberholtzer takes the mound for the second time against the Cardinals on Tuesday in Kissimmee. The left-hander allowed an unearned run, four hits and struck out two in two innings in his first start, a 5-2 loss to St. Louis last Friday.

Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is expected to throw three or four innings on Tuesday against the Twins in Dunedin. The 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner fanned two and walked one in two hitless innings in his first outing against the Orioles last Friday.

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