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Game Recap: Cano Clout Cans Astros. M’s Take Series Opener 7-4

Astros and A’s again tied for AL West lead.

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With the injury to Lance McCullers, there has been much speculation as to who would replace him in the rotation for tomorrow’s game. Many believed it might be the bullpen ace with the 2nd lowest ERA in MLB,* Collin McHugh.

It will not be McHugh. He was brought into tonight’s game in high leverage to preserve a 4-4 tie. Instead, Robinson Cano, just back from PED suspension, slammed a three run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to secure Seattle’s fifth straight victory over the Astros.

Pitching, hitting and even defensive failures all contributed to this Astros defeat. Starter Gerrit Cole gave up three runs, two earned, in five innings, allowing 7 hits and 2 walks. A Carlos Correa throwing error accounted for the unearned run.

Cole’s sixth inning relief, Tony Sipp, got two outs but allowed a double, whom Ryan Pressly allowed to score, tying the game at 4 each.

Collin McHugh managed a scoreless seventh inning but allowed the 3 run Cano homer to blow the game open. His failure to quickly cover first on a grounder to first allowed Dee Gordon to get an infield hit, and he eventually scored on the Cano homer.

The Astros managed four runs, but only got five hits. Marwin Gonzalez accounted for almost all of the Astros scoring, hitting a solo homer in the first inning, his 12th, and in the third with a two run double, scoring Tony Kemp and Alex Bregman. Gonzalez himself would score Houston’s final run that inning on a Felix Hernandez wild pitch.

The Astros got no hits after the beleaguered Felix hernandez left the game in the sixth inning, and positions 4-9 in the batting order got no hits as well

Since returning from the DL on August 10th, before tonight, Carlos Correa was hitting .107, with a wRC+ of 9. Another 0fer tonight has not doubt lowered these already absymal numbers.

On the positive side, before tonight’s game in which he had seven total bases, in August Gonzalez’ slash line is: .304/.381/.607 with 6 homers (including tonight) and a 168 wRC+.

With an A’s win over the Rangers tonight, the Astros and A’s are again tied for the AL West lead, and the Mariners are 3.5 games back.

Tomorrow’s pitcher for the Astros has still not been determined.

There was one defensive highlight for the Astros. Look at Bregman on this strange play.

Box Score and videos here.

*with 50 or more innings.