Historically, the Astros have owned the Mariners, going way back to April 2014. Tonight, the hombres from H-Town welcomed their favorite whipping-boy in for another low-down downtown smack down. Toeing the bump for the invaders, perennial Cy-Young award candidate and occasional Cy-Young award winner Felix Hernandez. For the local heroes, Brad #FreeThePea Peacock, who aimed to state his case for rotation retention once Astros' ace-in-name Scott Feldman returns from his stint on the sides.
So as not to be accused of burying the lede, the most important fact needs be mentioned first: The Astros committed no defensive errors during the course of this game.
Really, that's all you need to know, you can quit reading now.
But if you must read on, the game started in fine fashion, with Peacock retiring the first three batters with the ease of butter sliding down the side of a rhinoceros. In the bottom of the first, Jose Altuve lined King Felix' first pitch into the left field corner for a double. Sadly, Castro and Springer struck out in tandem to end the inning, stranding the diminutive double-bagger at Third.
Peacock sailed through the top of the second, and the Astros' offense did little damage aside from two walks by Marc Krauss and Matt Dominguez. This characterized Hernandez’ outing, which included only five innings pitched from a guy who routinely goes eight, three walks from a guy who’s career walk rate is as miniscule as Chris Carter’s chance of stealing ten bases this season.
Scoring opened in the bottom of the third. Altuve and Dexter Fowler singled in succession, followed by Castro reaching on an error by Seattle center fielder Abraham Almonte, who nobody has actually heard of before flubbing the play. The result scored Altuve, with Fowler tripping home afterwards on a single by Marc Krauss.
Peacock sailed until the fifth inning, when he served up a tasty fried tater to catcher Mike Zunino, whose only prior claim to fame was as a former teammate of Astros future Hall-of-Famers Preston Tucker and Nolan Fontana, both currently in Double-A. The Astros answered quickly with another single by Krauss, scoring Castro.
In a scene that could make a taco weep, Peacock blew his own lead without the help of the bullpen in the sixth inning by allowing Michael Saunders and Robinson Cano to score on a double by Kyle Seager, who hates the Astros and everything they stand for. Peacock survived to finish the inning, but made no strong case to retain his starting pitching role when the rotation becomes more crowded.
Jose Cisnero and Tony Sipp, neither of whom graced the 25-man roster a week ago, locked the Seattle Seamen down in the 7th and 8th. Despite the prevailing but misguided sentiment that GM Jeff Luhnow’s addition of LHP Tony Sipp yesterday was a "meh" move, Sipp performed his job to perfection by striking out two batters over 1-2/3 innings, walking none, and allowing no hits, thus proving conclusively that we mortals know not of what we speak. That duo gave way to the maligned-but-misunderstood Chad Qualls, who decided to continue the bullpen’s perfection for the evening.
By this point, George Springer had struck out four times, earning himself a golden sombrero and a 35% season-long strikeout rate. That noise you hear is David Coleman sobbing into his wife’s shoulder, unable to control the powerful emotion of betrayal.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Astros tie the game on a piddly ground ball by Jonathan Villar, scoring Alex Presley (who, to the surprise of all, has assuredly not left the building yet). The bullpen, determined to rehabilitate their ridonkulous reputation, seized an opportunity to extend their excellence against the interloping interlopers. Anthony Bass dominated the 10th and 11th by sitting down the M’s lineup with little drama. Danny "Prince" Farquhar, Seattle’s sixth pitcher of the evening, likewise cruised through the Astros’ lineup.
Then came the bottom of the eleventh against Charlie Furbush:
- Altuve ground ball up the middle for a single
- Fowler push bunt halfway up the 1B line for an infield single
- Carlos Corporan bunt to pitcher, who tries to throw Altuve out at 3rd…but too late! Infield single, and the bases are loaded.
- Springer high chop bouncer over Seager’s head at third to score Altuve