Astros rally after Cano's error as McHugh wins 10th straight
By Greg Johns and Brian McTaggart
SEATTLE -- Collin McHugh racked up his 10th straight victory for the Astros as Houston rallied for a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night to remain in first place in the early American League West race.
McHugh allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA on the season and 10-0 since his last loss in July of last season. The Astros (8-6) overcame a 3-1 deficit with five runs in the eighth, capped by Jose Altuve's three-run double. The first run was unearned after an error on Robinson Cano opened the inning.
"We had a lot of good things going for us tonight and obviously it's tough to lose 'em like this," said Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon. "Any time you lose a game late that you think you should win and have a grasp on, they're always tough. This one stings a little bit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turnaround for Taijuan: Walker lugged an unseemly 17.18 ERA into the game after two rough starts for Seattle, but the youngster was much better against the Astros with four hits, one run and a career high-tying eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Walker struck out the side in the second when he was hitting 98 mph on the radar gun, but his defining moment came in the fourth when he got Altuve to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice with the bases loaded to preserve a 2-1 lead. More>
Astros finally come through in clutch: After going 0-for-7 to start the season with the bases loaded, including a couple of missed chances in the fourth and sixth innings Tuesday by Altuve, the Astros broke through with a five-run eighth inning that included a game-tying RBI single with the bases loaded by Jake Marisnick, which was followed by the big blow -- a three-run double by Altuve to make it 6-3. More >
Cano keeps producing: After a slow start, Cano has begun hitting more like, well, Cano. And the results were important early in this one as the Mariners second baseman drove in Seattle's first two runs -- on a first-inning groundout and a third-inning single -- while extending his hitting streak to eight games. After starting the season by going 3-for-25, Cano has hit .424 (14-for-33) with five doubles, a home run, five RBIs and seven runs scored.
McHugh wins 10th in a row: Working one day shy of one year since his career 12-strikeout breakout performance against the Mariners at Safeco Field, McHugh won his 10th consecutive decision by holding Seattle to three runs and seven hits in seven innings. It's the longest winning streak by an Astros pitcher since Wade Miller ran off a franchise-record 12 consecutive wins in 2002. More >
Astros outfielder George Springer drew four balls in an at-bat against Walker in the fifth inning, but everyone missed it and Springer didn't walk. Instead, he wound up striking out .
"At first I thought, 'OK, that was ball four,'" Walker said. "But I looked up and he was still in the box, so I thought, maybe I'm tripping or something. In the dugout, they said it was ball four. So thank you, I guess. That was huge."
Said Astros manager A.J. Hinch: "I think everybody in the ballpark pretty much missed it, which is ultimately falls on me. I've got to jump out of the dugout again and make sure, but there's a lot of confusion on that and fortunately for us it didn't burn us. It cost George an at-bat, which is too bad for him but we all sort of messed that one up."
"Yesterday I thought I threw the ball well. Today, different story. I thought I left some balls over the middle of the plate that they could hit and obviously didn't get the first guy out. That didn't help and I couldn't stop the bleeding." -- Farquhar after giving up the key hits in the eighth a day after taking the loss in the opening game of the series
"Sometimes you've got like a machine gun and sometimes you've got a pocket knife. It was a pocket knife day." -- McHugh on pitching without his best stuff
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Walker wound up with a no-decision after the Astros rallied to overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the 22-year-old is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts against the Astros, but 0-5 with a 5.59 ERA in his nine other Major League appearances.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch successfully challenged a call at home plate in the third inning, leading to Houston's first run of the game. Jake Marisnick tried to tag up from third base on a pop fly to shallow left field that was caught by shortstop Brad Miller but was initially called out after a nifty slide to avoid the tag. Hinch challenged immediately, and the call was overturned after replay review.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez (0-1, 3.38 ERA) will start for the Astros in his first game against the Mariners in more than two years in Wednesday's series finale at Safeco Field at 9:10 p.m. CT/7:10 p.m. PT. Hernandez is coming off a quality start Friday against the Angels in Houston in which he allowed three runs and three hits in six innings.
Mariners: J.A. Happ, who has pitched well in his first two starts, will be seeking his first win for his new club. Happ, who pitched for Houston from 2010-12, is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA. This will be his fourth career start against the Astros (2-0, 2.04 ERA).