Houston's offense was firing on all cylinders

Astros crush Mariners in lopsided series opener

Astros' Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez
Houston's lineup obliterated the baseball in Friday's opener against the Mariners. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Houston's lineup obliterated the baseball in Friday's opener against the Mariners.

With a win to avoid the four-game sweep the day prior, the Astros put the recent road struggles behind them as they turned their attention to division-rival Seattle to start a homestand on Friday night. Houston clearly had their full attention at the plate, crushing the ball throughout the game to get the lopsided win.

Final Score: Astros 12, Mariners 3

Astros' Record: 72-50, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (10-4)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (7-7)

Houston's offense returns home with a bang

Unlike the unsuccessful games at the plate in parts of their recent losing streak, the Astros looked much more like the team that roared back to win in Thursday's finale against the Royals. They jumped all over Yusei Kikuchi, starting in the bottom of the first, getting two runs on an RBI triple by Carlos Correa and an RBI groundout by Yordan Alvarez.

In the second, a one-out walk set up a two-run blast by Jake Meyers, doubling the lead to 4-0. They continued to tee off against Seattle's starter in the third, getting a leadoff single to set up a two-run bomb by Alvarez, followed by a solo homer by Yuli Gurriel to make it back-to-back jacks and extending the lead to 7-0. They would eventually chase Kikuchi out of the game before finishing the inning.

McCullers Jr. posts another quality start and gets win number 10

Meanwhile, Lance McCullers Jr. was cruising over that span, having retired the Mariners lineup in order through the first three frames. Their first hit against him was a loud one, a two-out solo homer in the top of the fourth to make it 7-1. His offense got that back and more in the bottom of the fourth, continuing to make strong contact with an RBI double by Alvarez, an RBI single by Gurriel, then a sac fly later in the inning by Chas McCormick to make it a nine-run game at 10-1.

After a scoreless top of the inning by McCullers Jr., Houston put up two more runs behind him in the bottom of the fifth on a leadoff solo homer by Martin Maldonado and RBI groundout by Michael Brantley, scoring Jose Altuve, who knocked a triple in front of him, making it 12-1. McCullers Jr. would toss another inning in the top of the sixth, allowing a run on a two-out RBI single, but finishing with a quality start nonetheless: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Astros take the opener in dominant fashion

After leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Houston handed the ball to their bullpen in the top of the seventh, bringing in Brooks Raley. He kept the lead at ten runs, hitting a batter but striking out the other three batters he faced. Pedro Baez took over in the top of the eighth, allowing a one-out solo homer to make it 12-3 but getting through the rest of the inning. Next out was Yimi Garcia, who wrapped things up in the top of the ninth with a scoreless inning to finish the lopsided win.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Saturday. The pitching matchup features Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.74 ERA) for the Astros and Logan Gilbert (5-4, 4.42 ERA) for the Mariners.

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Josh Hader had another rough outing. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Christian Vázquez led off the ninth inning with a home run to give the Minnesota Twins a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Vázquez, who had two hits and drove in all three Twins runs, hit a full-count sinker from Josh Hader (3-5) high and deep to left field for his fourth homer of the season.

“I think it’s fun to hit in the ninth against the closer,” Vázquez said. "I get locked in there.”

Jhoan Duran (4-3) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the win.

The Astros wrapped up a 10-game road trip 6-4, while the Twins have taken two of three games in each of their last five series. The team's offense has especially come alive of late, banging out 42 hits in the three games against Houston.

“I think our offense is very dangerous,” Vázquez said. “One through nine, everyone puts something on the table to win. So, we never give up, and that’s the beauty of this game,”

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti gave up two earned runs and struck out six in five innings.

Minnesota's Simeon Woods Richardson had one of his best starts of the season. The rookie right-hander gave up two earned runs over six innings and retired the last 13 batters he faced.

“When you see a guy figure it out while he’s out there and make it work, and have his best stuff toward the end of the outing, it leaves you even more satisfied,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "He gave us a chance to win and we end up winning the game.

Twins shortstop Carlos Correa left the game in the first inning after being hit on the right hand by a pitch. The team announced that initial scans were negative and Correa was diagnosed with a finger contusion.

“I will be playing tomorrow,” said Correa, who had his finger wrapped after the game.

Woods Richardson’s control escaped him in the second inning and the Astros made him pay. Back-to-back walks helped load the bases with one out. César Salazar’s sacrifice fly drove in one run and Jose Altuve’s base hit plated another as Houston took a 2-0 lead.

Vázquez drove in runs with a two-out single in the second and a fielder’s choice grounder in the fourth to tie the game 2-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Altuve returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a wrist contusion. … OF Yordan Alvarez missed the game with a sore right knee after he was hit by a pitch on Saturday.

Twins: OF Austin Martin (oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day IL. OF Matt Wallner was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to fill Martin’s roster spot.

UP NEXT

Astros: With their longest road trip of the season in the books, the Astros return to Houston until the All-Star break. RHP Ronel Blanco (8-3, 2.53) will start Tuesday’s game against the Marlins.

Twins: Minnesota heads to Chicago Monday to open a three-game series with the White Sox. The Twins haven’t named a starter for Monday night’s game, though RHP Chris Paddack (5-3, 5.29) is eligible to come off the IL and the date lines up with his slot in the rotation.

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