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.

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The Houston Astros haven't counted on their catchers to deliver much offensive production in recent years, with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado being their primary catcher for the last few seasons. But top hitting prospect Yainer Diaz is making a case to get more playing time behind the plate and at first, based on his ability to swing the bat.

Until recently, he hasn't been able to get any meaningful playing time. Even David Hensley, who was optioned to Sugar Land a few weeks ago, has more plate appearances than Diaz this season.

So how does manager Dusty Baker find more opportunities for Diaz? Should he use him more often as a DH, along with getting time at first base and catcher?

And what does that mean for Jose Abreu, Martin Maldonado, and to a lesser extent, former first round pick and Sugar Land Space Cowboy catcher, Korey Lee?

Plus, considering how good the Astros outfielders have been this year, does the team need to grab another bat before the trade deadline?

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