The Astros offense didn't quite generate as much excitement as they did the previous night, but they provided more than enough to get the job done by recording double-digit hits for the second night in a row and scoring eight runs in the process. Several Astros players mentioned that after Tuesday's blowout it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of their shoulders, and hopefully that was just what they needed to jump start the offense. In an effort to avoid putting a damper on the good guys first series win of the season we will ignore the fact that the offense provided over the last two days came against less than experienced pitchers. For all effective purposes the offense just clicked and are finally starting to get things going.
The Astros got the scoring started in the second inning with a leadoff single off the bat of Chris Carter. Carter then advanced to third on Carlos Pena's double and scored on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly. That brought up the contact deprived Rick Ankiel who promptly hit his second homerun, a 2-run shot, of the season. So far Ankiel has two hits on the season, and both of them have been homeruns, so at least he's making his hits count. The Astros added two more runs in the third with the help of a fielding miscue by Franklin Gutierrez that allowed Jason Castro to reach second to lead off the inning. He would later come around to score on a Carlos Pena single, and Pena in turn came home to score on a J.D. Martinez double.
That was all of the Astros scoring that would take place until the seventh inning when Jason Castro got things started with a one-out double. Chris Carter followed Castro with his third homerun of the season. Carter, who had seven hits and three homers over the past two games, is one bat that the Astros would love to see stay hot for a little while. The homerun also came at a very crucial time in the game as the Mariners had worked their way back into the game by scoring one in the fifth and one in the sixth to bring the game back to within two (5-3) at that point. The two-run shot provided the Astros bullpen with a four-run cushion to hold on to for the last three innings.
Notable performances by the offense include Carter (3-5, HR), Pena (3-5, 2B), Gonzalez (2-3, HR), and Ankiel (1-4, HR). Altuve, Maxwell, Castro, Martinez, and Dominguez also got their names in the hit column tonight. I will also take this time to highlight Marwin Gonzalez in particular who has also had a good two games, but might not be talked about as much with all of the other offense outbursts taken place. Margo went 5-6 with four walks, one strikeout, and two homeruns over the final two games of the season. Ronny Cedeno may be seeing less time at shortstop in the immediate future.
Strikeout Tracker: ONLY nine strikeouts by the Astros tonight.
Brad Peacock made his second start of the night and was sharper than his previous start, but still ran up a somewhat high pitch count earlier than Bo Porter would probably have liked. Still, he limited the Mariners to four hits, three earned runs, one walk, three strikeouts, and allowed two homeruns. He pitched into the sixth, but failed to record an out in the inning and was lifted for Dallas Keuchel. Astros starters have been solid in the early going this season, but are still looking for a starter to get seven innings under their belt this season.
Keuchel, who was making his second appearance of the young season, pitched a solid two innings in which he allowed just two walks, no hits, and recorded one strikeout in his two scoreless innings. Rhiner Cruz came on to relieve Keuchel in the eighth, and added an adventurous scoreless inning to get the game to Jose veras in a non-save situation in the ninth. Veras recorded a strikeout, allowed a single, and then induced a double-play to end the game and give the Astros their first series victory of the season.
All in all it was a nice game for the Astros, and a nice series win after dropping the first game. Hopefully they can continue their hot-streak.