Altuve jump-starts balanced attack as Astros drop M's

Altuve jump-starts balanced attack as Astros drop M's

SEATTLE -- Jose Altuve ripped a home run and two doubles as the Astros snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a 7-4 win over the Mariners in their series finale at Safeco Field.

Altuve went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs as he hiked his average to .330 with six homers on the season, while right-hander Collin McHugh picked up the win with five innings of two-run ball. The win was just the second in the past nine games for Houston, which trails the American League West at 7-15.

"That's a good night," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We needed it. It was a good win for us, it was a grind. It was good to see a complete game. We made a couple of good defensive plays, we made some adjustments at the plate. Collin grinding through his five innings and we got the bullpen involved, and get out of here with a win, which is important."

Hinch on Astros' 7-4 win

Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed a season-high five runs in five innings as he fell to 0-3 with a 4.65 ERA. Altuve had three of the seven hits allowed by Iwakuma and is now 13-for-30 (.433) against the 35-year-old right-hander.

"The biggest key with him is you've got to get ahead," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "Today I wasn't able to get strike one, so when you fall behind he becomes a way better hitter because you have to throw a strike and it's pretty much to the fat part of the plate."

Robinson Cano had a pair of hits, including a solo homer off McHugh in the first, but the Mariners saw their three-game win streak end as they dropped a half-game back of Texas in the early AL West race at 11-10.

Clutch city: The Astros, who entered the game hitting a Major League-worst .185 with runners in scoring position, came through with five hits in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position, including four consecutive hits in the third inning. Colby Rasmus had a bases-loaded single in the fifth inning, and Evan Gattis had a two-run double in the seventh.

"I think this win is going to create some momentum and we're going to go back to the team we are, and everything is going to go back to normal and we're going to be OK and win a lot of games," Altuve said.

Gattis' two-run double

Cano keeps clubbing: After cranking out six RBIs in his last two at-bats in Tuesday's 11-1 win, the second baseman stayed hot with a homer in the first, a run-scoring single in the third and an RBI groundout in the ninth. The homer, his eighth of the season, came on a 1-2 curve from McHugh and tied the game at 1 after Altuve led off the game with his shot off Iwakuma. Cano went 2-for-5 on the night to put his average at .247.

"I'm not trying [to hit home runs], but it's good," said Cano. "It's always good to start the season good. It's not only the way you start, but helping the team win games. We lost tonight, but we won the series and that's all that matters."

Cano's RBI single

Gomez injured: Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez was removed from the game in the fourth inning with a right hand contusion after being hit by a pitch thrown by Iwakuma. X-rays were negative, and he's day-to-day. Gomez went 0-for-1 and is hitting .197 this year with two RBIs.

"It's sore right now," Gomez said. "It's a contusion. It's a day-to-day thing. Tomorrow day off. I think I'll be fine for the first game in Oakland."

Gomez leaves the game after HBP

A lefty for Lind: Mariners skipper Scott Servais has been careful to use first baseman Adam LInd almost exclusively against right-handers this year in a platoon with Dae-Ho Lee. But with both players in the lineup together for the first time -- with Lind getting his first DH start -- Servais left the southpaw swinger in against lefty reliever Tony Sipp in the sixth and Lind wound up launching his first homer of the season. The 32-year-old jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Sipp and drove a no-doubter projected at 435 feet by Statcast™ into the right-field seats.

"He had track record. The numbers were good," said Servais, knowing Lind was 3-for-5 with a homer against Sipp coming in. "He'd had some success against Sipp in the past and I thought it was worth a shot. And obviously he jumped on the first fastball."

Lind's solo home run

"That's a good club over there. I know they're struggling a bit, but they made the playoffs last year. They can do some things." -- Servais on the Astros

"He's the best hitter in baseball. He's the best hitter that I've seen in baseball. I'm glad he's on our team." -- McHugh on Altuve

Cano now has an AL-leading eight homers and 24 RBIs in 21 games. Last year he reached his eighth homer in the Mariners' 91st game of the season on July 18, and drove in his 24th run in the club's 78th game on July 1.

Servais requested a crew chief's review of a long foul ball by Seth Smith in the fifth inning on a high-arching shot down the right-field line. After a one-minute, 49-second look at the tape, the foul call was confirmed and Smith wound up grounding out to end the inning.

Smith just misses homer

Astros: The Astros are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the A's at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday in Oakland. Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.73 ERA) will get the start for the Astros, having won his last two outings.

Mariners: After an off-day on Thursday, the Mariners resume their homestand with Felix Hernandez on the mound for Friday's 7:10 p.m. PT game against the defending World Series champion Royals. Hernandez (1-2, 1.80 ERA) needs one win to tie Jamie Moyer's franchise record of 145.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009, and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.