KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch has a "soft rule" when it comes to a rain delay during a game: If it lasts about an hour, he'll usually remove his starting pitcher.
Good thing for him it's not a hard rule.
Hinch opted to keep Collin McHugh on the mound after a 49-minute stoppage last night, and the soft-spoken righty responded with a resounding performance. He shut down the Kansas City Royals over six innings in Houston's 5-2 victory in Game 1 of their American League Division Series.
"We checked in with him a couple times, but he was never really coming out of that game," Hinch said of McHugh, a 19-game winner this season, who allowed two solo homers by Kendrys Morales. "That wasn't even his best tonight, and he got through a pretty good lineup and battled."
George Springer and Colby Rasmus went deep for the Astros, but they also scored via the same sort of small ball the Royals used in reaching the World Series last season.
"Winning the first game was key," Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez said. "We did that."
"It's a five-game series," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's not a death sentence to lose Game 1."
Yordano Ventura yielded three runs, four hits and a walk in two innings for Kansas City and did not come back after the delay. Chris Young served up Springer's homer with one out in the fifth but tossed four otherwise solid innings of relief.
Astros lefty Scott Kazmir faces Royals righthander Johnny Cueto in Game 2 today.
Houston made it the first time since 1970 that visiting teams won baseball's first four postseason games, STATS said. The other two times it happened were 1906 and 1923.
"Everyone knows we haven't been playing the best on the road," reliever Tony Sipp said. "To take one in New York and come here, it shows we're a different kind of team."
After the Astros loaded the bases with none out in the first inning, RBI groundouts by Rasmus and Evan Gattis gave Houston a 2-0 lead. Jose Altuve had an RBI single in the second.
"We're happy. It's obviously good," Springer said, "but it's on to tomorrow. I mean, it's over with, and now we understand that they're going to be prepared to play."