Having averaged fewer than three runs a game entering their series in Seattle, Houston's offense capped a series win at Safeco Field by scoring 10 unanswered runs for a 10-5 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday night. That followed a seven-run outburst for a win Tuesday.
With both teams struggling to score runs to start the season, it appeared as though the M's would be the ones whose bats were heating up, scoring five runs in the first four innings off Houston starter Mike Fiers. But the Astros roared back to set season highs for runs and hits (16) for the second game in a row.
"We strung a lot of hits together," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had timely hits. We did a really good job of putting together some at-bats, staying in the game and playing the whole game. A really good win."
Houston knocked Mariners starter Yovani Gallardo out of the game after five innings, down 5-4, and proceeded to torch Seattle's bullpen to the tune of six runs spread across the seventh and eighth innings.
"We do believe in our club," said Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran, who went 2-for-5. "I do feel that it was about time that we start swinging the bat collectively, and we did that today. I think we put together good at-bats, quality at-bats. Basically, everyone fed off that. I think that was a key today. We never really felt like when they scored those five runs we were out of the game."
Seven Astros had multiple hits, led by Jose Altuve (3-for-3), who reached base in all five plate appearances and scored three runs, improving to 7-for-his-last-15 after starting the season in a 3-for-21 slump. More >
Taylor Motter and Mike Freeman, starting and on the roster, respectively, because of Jean Segura's 10-day DL stint, accounted for three of the Mariners' five runs on a long ball apiece, while Motter added his fourth two-bagger in his last two games. More >
"Taylor has been very impressive," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's been driving the ball against some pretty good pitching and played well at shortstop, starting to settle in and be comfortable. He's one of the bright spots, swinging the bat as good as anyone we have right now."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Seventh heaven: The Astros completed their comeback with a three-run seventh inning against reliever Dan Altavilla. Josh Reddick, Altuve and Carlos Correa had consecutive one-out singles, giving Houston nine singles in its first 10 hits. Alex Bregman put the Astros ahead with a double down the third-base line, and Correa scored on a wild pitch for the final run of the inning. By wiping out a five-run deficit, the Astros surpassed their largest comeback of last season (four runs).
"This is a team that we never panic early in the game because we know we're going to score some runs," Altuve said. "If we put some at-bats together we're going to score a lot of runs, and that's what we did today. We were down 5-0 and we played really hard."
What a relief: The Astros' relief corps, which had allowed 17 runs in 20 1/3 innings in the team's previous six games, shut down the Mariners. Seattle managed three hits after Motter's third-inning homer gave the Mariners a 5-0 lead, with Tony Sipp rebounding to retire Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in order in the fifth. Brad Peacock threw two scoreless innings, Luke Gregerson threw a scoreless eighth and Jandel Gustave a scoreless ninth.
"Our guys had to absorb five innings of bullpen work," Hinch said. "Tony's inning, in the middle of their order as we were starting to come back, but not quite back, paid huge dividends."
"It's something you dream about as a kid, so in that regard it's special. But at the same time, it's tough. You want to get here and do anything you can to help the team win, and unfortunately we didn't win tonight. That's kind of taken precedence amongst everything. It won't ever take away from the fact that I've got a big league homer now -- something that a lot of people aren't able to do. I recognize that. I don't hit a lot of homers in the Minor Leagues or anywhere, so it's special for me." -- Freeman on his first MLB home run
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Reddick, Altuve, Correa, Beltran and Bregman -- the Astros' two-through-six hitters -- combined to go 11-for-20 with seven runs, two doubles, seven RBIs and four walks.
Altavilla entered the seventh inning with one of the longest scoreless-innings streaks in baseball. His 13 1/3 trailed only Zach Britton (20), Koji Uehara (18), Andrew Miller (16 2/3) and Matt Bowman (13 2/3). Not bad company. But Altavilla would only record one out before four straight hits and, eventually, three runs to earn the loss.
"I was trying to overdo it a little bit," Altavilla said. "I should have just stuck to my game, but things got a little bit away from me. … Just didn't have it tonight."
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros are off Thursday before opening a three-game series Friday against the A's at 9:07 p.m. CT in Oakland. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 0.64 ERA) will start for the Astros after allowing one run and four hits in his first 14 innings of the season.
Mariners: Seattle gets its first day off of the season at home Thursday before hosting a three-game set against the Rangers, continuing a run of 13 straight games against American League West opponents to open the season. Felix Hernandez (0-1, 4.09 ERA) makes his third start of the season against Martin Perez (1-1, 2.38 ERA).