Houston's offense was firing on all cylinders
Astros crush Mariners in lopsided series opener
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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