Astros lifted over Mariners by two grand slams

Astros daily report: Astros 10, Mariners 6

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros were in Seattle for the first of three games in the big matchup against the Mariners. Here's the breakdown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 10, Mariners 6

Record: 9-5, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brad Peacock (2-0).

Losing pitcher: Shawn Armstrong (0-1).

Stars of the game: Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel both had clutch grand slams which pushed Houston over the top in the win. Altuve's slam flipped the game from a 3-2 Mariners lead to 6-3 Astros lead and extended his streak to four consecutive games with a homer. Gurriel's slam stopped the momentum of the Mariners who had gotten within a run in the previous inning.

Notes: After the Astros went down in order in the top of the first, Wade Miley struggled in the bottom of the inning, giving up a run on three hits and a walk on 41 pitches, all in the first inning. Seattle extended the lead to 3-0 in the second, getting a two-out, two-RBI single to shallow center field, just out of Jake Marisnick's diving grasp. George Springer got the Astros back in it in the top of the third, blasting a two-run homer to trim the deficit to one run. After the first and second inning struggles, Miley's pitch count was high after four innings, resulting in Brad Peacock making an appearance from the bullpen to take over in the 3-2 game in the fifth, keeping the one-run game in play. The Astros did damage against Seattle's bullpen in the top of the sixth, loading the bases for Jose Altuve who continued his home run streak by launching a grand slam to double up the Mariners at 6-3. Seattle would battle back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run on a wild pitch from Peacock then getting an RBI groundout to get back within a run at 6-5. Houston wanted to give their bullpen more room to work with, and proceeded to load the bases in the top of the eighth to set up the second grand slam of the night, this time from Yuli Gurriel to make it a 10-5 advantage. Peacock faced one more batter in the bottom of the eighth, then Chris Devenski finished that inning off before continuing in the ninth. After a solo home run from the Mariners along with getting a couple of runners on against Devenski, A.J. Hinch left nothing to chance, going to Roberto Osuna to get the final out to lock up the win.

Up next: After breaking the Mariners' winning streak on Friday night, the Astros will look to lock up the series win and extend their own winning streak to 8 with a win on Saturday night. First pitch will be at 8:10 PM and will feature Justin Verlander on the mound for Houston and Felix Hernandez for Seattle.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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