Astros' vaunted offense hasn't jelled yet

Club relies on homers in series win against Mariners

Astros' vaunted offense hasn't jelled yet

HOUSTON -- The good news for the Astros is they took three of four games from the Mariners to start the season, despite their beefed up offense struggling to string hits together.

The Astros managed only six hits -- including solo homers by George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez -- in Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Through four games, the Astros are hitting .221 as a team, including 3-for-26 with runners in scoring position.

"It's the beginning of the season and I think [it's] something about timing," said shortstop Carlos Correa, who's hitting .231 with a homer. "Nothing to worry about. We're 3-1. There's no need to panic right now. We're going to get back on track and be able to produce."

All but three of the Astros' 12 runs scored in the season-opening Seattle series came on home runs. They've hit six solo home runs in addition to Springer's three-run, walk-off homer in the 13th inning Wednesday.

"We're not going to have some of the at-bats we're having," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We did face some pretty good pitching. Those guys, they have some pretty good pitching over there. I think it's a little combination of both. It's getting into the season, there's an anxiousness to a lot of players.

"When you break camp and get into the season, you want your first hit, you want to feel like you're in this rhythm. You get distracted a little bit in the first week. We certainly haven't swung the bats perfectly, but again, you focus on the good stuff. We won three out of four against a division opponent that's going to be pretty good."

Hinch on loss to Mariners

Carlos Beltran (3-for-16), Alex Bregman (2-for-12), Yulieski Gurriel (1-for-13) and Brian McCann (2-for-10) are among those who have started slow out of the gate. Jose Altuve, the two-time American League batting champion, is 3-for-17 with six strikeouts.

"I think as the few outs have built up on him, he's starting to swing the bat with a little bit more aggressive outside the zone," Hinch said. "He's got great strike-zone discipline when he's right. He wants to create hits for himself, he wants to create a lot of action. It all starts with pitch selection. He knows that. It's not a secret. It's a rarity to see him go through a series and strike out a few times. It's one series. It will quickly evaporate once he gets a couple of multi-hit games and the world will be right again."

Altuve hustles, beats out single

Altuve said the hits are going to come.

"I feel like I'm going to come back tomorrow and figure it out," he said. "As much as I've been playing, I've been getting close to where I want to be and, like I said, I'm going to stay optimistic about myself and the team and go out there and make it happen."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.