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(The Sports Xchange) - Collin McHugh worked eight strong innings while left fielder Colby Rasmus smacked two home runs as the Houston Astros continued their push for the playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
McHugh (17-7) bounced back from a pair of sub-par outings against the Athletics and Rangers, limiting Oakland to one run on four hits and two walks while notching eight strikeouts.
He surrendered a two-out RBI double to Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien in the second inning but recovered to retire 14 of 15 batters.
"It's a lot better than the last couple of outings, that's for sure," McHugh said. "Commanded well, made some big pitches in big situations when I needed to.
"At this point in the season you're running on adrenaline. So it doesn't really matter, your pitch count is kind of irrelevant at this point.
"So when you're rolling and you feel good and you want to execute pitches, you've just got to go out there and do it, no matter what inning it is, no matter how deep in the game it is. Was able to do that and it felt good."
The Astros (79-71) extended their lead for the second wild card in the American League to 2-1/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins.
Rasmus erased the Athletics' 1-0 lead with his solo home run off Aaron Brooks (2-4) in the second inning, then added his 21st home run of the season in the eighth off Athletics left-hander Barry Zito, a two-run shot.
"It felt great," said Rasmus, who finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
"Any time you can help your team in a situation like that where we're getting down to the nitty-gritty trying to put some wins on the board to get back at the Rangers it's a great feeling, and I feel blessed to be able to do that."
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury