May 2, 2015
Astros 11, Mariners 4
W – McHugh (4-0)
L – Walker (1-3)
Let’s be honest. With the way the Astros have been playing this season, was anyone really concerned when the Mariners got out to an early 3-0 lead in bombastic fashion? If you answered yes, you haven’t been watching enough games this year. This was a fun one to watch, too, as the ‘Stros and Mariners combined for nine home runs, setting a new record for Minute Maid Park. Oh, and they ran away with this one in the same bludgeoning, stomp-on-their-opponent’s-throat style that we saw in San Diego.
Collin McHugh didn’t have his best stuff and was getting hit hard early; even his 1-2-3 1st inning featured some hard-hit outs. The M’s capitalized in the 2nd inning by mashing three solo homers off McHugh, including the second towering blast by Nelson Cruz in as many nights. Cruz added another massive train track homer in the 6th – he’s probably still pissed at how his batting average was 26 points lower after the Astros left Seattle last week – but McHugh hung in there and went seven innings, ending his night with an altogether decent stat line despite the four earned runs. Mark Thatcher and Will Harris faced the minimum in the 8th and 9th.
The Astros roared back from the 3-0 deficit almost immediately. Evan Gattis reached base on a wild throw from short, and Colby Rasmus moved him over to third on a double. Gattis scored on a Marwin Gonzalez grounder to the right side of the infield, and Jake Marisnick singled to score Rasmus. Taijuan Walker got out of the inning with a GIDP, but the Astros brought out the blunt objects in the bottom of the third. After George Springer drew a two-out walk, Gattis and Rasmus went back to back to give the Astros a 5-3 lead.
It didn’t stop there, either. Hank Conger and Jonathan Villar reached base to start the 4th, prompting Lloyd McClendon to visit the mound before Jose Altuve entered the batter’s box. Altuve promptly cranked a 3-run homer to left. McClendon is now 0-for-2 on visits to the mound ahead of an Altuve at-bat in this series, and should strongly consider keeping his ass in the dugout on Sunday should a similar situation present itself. Luis Valbuena went back-to-back with Altuve after the pitching change, Gonzalez doubled home a run in the 6th, and Conger went deep in the 7th just for good measure.
Other than the prolific hitting, the defense was a pretty big story in this game. The Mariners committed three errors, making piss-poor throws and even misplaying a routine fly ball in the outfield. Jake Marisnick provided a new entry into the archive of dramatic Tal’s Hill catches in MMP history, making an inning-ending diving grab up the hill that provoked this stunned reaction from McHugh:
All in all, just another day at the office. The Astros’ win streak sits at nine games, their AL West lead is up to six games, and they have won their last five series. Altuve’s homer extended his hitting streak to eleven games but his multi-hit game streak was snapped, leaving him fit to be tied with Jesus Alou and Billy Hatcher for the club record.
Roberto Hernandez (1-2, 3.80) takes the mound for Houston Sunday while J.A. Happ (2-1, 2.30) hopes to avoid the sweep. First pitch is 1:10pm CDT.