Astros take first of four against the Mariners

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Fresh off a sweep of the A's in Oakland over the weekend, the Astros traveled up the west coast to kick off a four-game series with the Mariners in Seattle on Monday night. Here's a recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 4, Mariners 2.

Record: 41-20, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (2-2, 3.12 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cory Gearrin (0-2, 4.24 ERA).

1) Coming out swinging

Houston got out to a hot start in this one, putting together a three-run top of the first against opener Cory Gearrin. It started with a one-out walk of Alex Bregman who would score on an RBI-triple from Josh Reddick. Reddick would then score himself on an RBI-groundout by Yuli Gurriel, then Robinson Chirinos hit a two-out solo home run to make it a quick 3-0 lead.

The trio of Bregman, Reddick, and Gurriel came through again in the top of the sixth. Bregman hit a one-out double, Reddick moved him to third with a single, then Gurriel drove in the run on another RBI to make it a 4-2 game.

2) Martin's struggles continue

Corbin Martin needed a motivation-building start to get him back on track after some rough starts in his early major-league career. He wouldn't get it. Martin was able to get through the first two innings scoreless but walked three batters along with some other long at-bats in that span that had him working with a high pitch count early.

That led to some determination to throw strikes in the third, which would, unfortunately, backfire as the Mariners tagged him with two solo home runs, making the third inning his last in a short appearance on a night where the bullpen was looking to rest after the twelve-inning game the day prior — Martin's final line: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3K.

3) Valdez excellent in relief

With Martin only able to make it through three innings, the Astros went to one of their fresh arms in Framber Valdez to try and eat up some innings. He'd end up having a great outing, throwing four scoreless innings during which he allowed two hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.

Chris Devenski took over on the mound for the eighth inning and was able to get through it scoreless thanks to a little help from Jake Marisnick's daily highlight on defense. The two-run game went to the bottom of the ninth where Ryan Pressly came in to close things out and complete the 4-2 win for Houston.

Up Next: Game two of this series will begin tomorrow night with another 9:10 PM first pitch from Seattle. Wade Miley (5-3, 3.25 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston trying to get back in the win column after getting tagged with a loss last week. The Mariners have not yet announced their starter.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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