Astros throw a combined no-hitter

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-0 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a showcase of home run power the night before that resulted in a lopsided win to start the series, Houston looked to secure the series win with a victory on Saturday night. The game also marked the debut of Aaron Sanchez with his new team. Here is a quick rundown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 9, Mariners 0.

Record: 72-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Aaron Sanchez (4-14, 5.76 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (12-9, 4.32 ERA).

1) New team, new Aaron Sanchez

After joining the Astros with a 3-14 record and 6.07 ERA, Houston probably just wanted to see what their new pitcher could offer to start the process to workshop his skillset. Instead, Aaron Sanchez gave his team a great start on the mound for his first start in an Astros uniform.

Not only was it great, but it was also near perfect. Sanchez allowed just three baserunners, two via walks and one on a hit batter over his six innings, no-hitting the Mariners for a fantastic start. With his pitch count in the 90s through those six innings, he would not test his endurance to go more.

The start must have been a welcome surprise for Houston, who was thought to have considered Sanchez a project they would try and work on down the stretch of the season. Instead, he showed them his upside right away. His final line: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

2) Another hot start for the bats

After their display of offensive strength the night before, the Astros started hot again on Saturday night in the bottom of the first inning. They put runners on the corners with no outs after a leadoff walk by George Springer and double by Jose Altuve, setting up an RBI-double by Michael Brantley to take a 1-0 lead.

They went on to triple that score, getting an RBI-groundout by Alex Bregman and an RBI-single by Yordan Alvarez in the next at-bats to extend the early lead to 3-0. That score held for a while, with neither team getting back on the scoreboard until Altuve made it back-to-back games with a home run with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 4-0 Houston lead.

Michael Brantley would notch two more RBIs in the bottom of the sixth, coming to the plate with two on base to put him in position for a two-RBI double to extend the lead to 6-0.

3) Houston completes the no-hitter

With Sanchez's night over after six no-hit innings, it was up to the bullpen to try and complete the no-hitter through the final three innings. Will Harris was first out of the bullpen, and with some defensive help behind him, he was able to work around a one-out walk, getting a double play to end the inning and keep the Mariners hitless.

In the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa drilled a one-out double, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI-double by Yuli Gurriel to extend the lead to 7-0. In the top of the eighth, the other pitcher acquired from Toronto, Joe Biagini, made his first appearance with the Astros.

He worked around a one-out walk to keep the no-hitter going to the ninth inning, but the Astros' scoring was not over. In the bottom of the eighth, Michael Brantley recorded his fourth RBI of the night with an RBI-single, then scored on an RBI-triple by Alex Bregman, extending the lead to 9-0.

The ninth inning belonged to Chris Devenski. He was able to get a 1-2-3 inning, completing the four-pitcher combined no-hitter and securing the series win.

Up Next: The Astros and Mariners will conclude this series tomorrow with a 1:10 PM afternoon start. Houston will send Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.73 ERA) to the mound as they try to complete the sweep. Seattle was slated to start Matt Wisler (2-2, 5.09 ERA) as an opener, but his appearance in Saturday night's game may change those plans.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans

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