If you’re a Houston Astro fan, you know who the Shark is by now. He’s the one slashing .300/.352/.630 in August before today. He opened today’s Astros 10 run feeding frenzy with an RBI triple, later added a single, and after the Mariners mounted a comeback, he sealed the win with a homer. In August he now has five home runs, one every eleven at bats, and a wRC+ of 169.
Seattle fans are surely starting to figure out who Tyler White is too, and they probably like seeing him as much as much as Astros fans like Mitch Haniger.
But the blood in today’s water wasn’t just from one angry Great White, but from a whole school of ravenous predators. Here they are, after the Great White home run.
On the way to 10 runs, the Astros had 17 hits and 29 total bases. They hit .414, and slugged .658. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel all had two hits each, and White, Martin Maldonado, and Tony Kemp all had three.
In the five run fourth inning these merciless sea monsters had six straight hits, seven total for the inning.
Maldonado has suddenly become an offensive force. In his last four games he has three home runs, a triple, two doubles and a single with 5 RBI. He got three of those RBI today. The average exit velocity in his five at bats was 97 mph.
Every Astro starter except Carlos Correa had at least one hit today, and Correa had three yesterday and a sac fly today. Every Astro starter produced either a run or an RBI except Marwin Gonzalez.
All the fanged denizens partook in this kill.
For a while this game appeared to be a laugher, the Astros leading by 8-0 in the fourth. It seemed like a matter of time before Mariner position players would start throwing from the mound.
Much to Seattle’s credit they did not quit, nibbling away with a run in the fourth thanks to another Nelson Cruz homer, and an RBI double by Robinson Cano in the fifth.
In the sixth Seattle knocked starter Charlie Morton out of the game, scoring five runs altogether. Four were credited to Morton, and one to Joe Smith, although Smith surrendered the big blow, a two run homer to, yeah, him again, Mitch Haniger. Seattle’s big sixth inning made the score 9-7 and a real game again.
Ryan Pressly, Hector Rondon, and Roberto Osuna would shut down the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings respectively, and along with White’s insurance homer in the ninth, would ice the victory and series win for the Astros. Osuna got his first save as an Astro and his tenth for the year.
Charlie Morton got his 13th win of the season, and until his meltdown in the sixth pitched well.
Marco Gonzales was the loser, and has had a number of disastrous starts in a row for the Mariners, who appear to have exhausted their pitching staff going forward into the pennant race.
With Oakland’s loss to the Rangers today the Astros resume undisputed control of first place in the AL West. And after losing 8 out of 10 games, the Astros have won three of their last four.
Good to see Tony Kemp back on track tonight. He was in a ten day mini-slump, hitting .130, .200 OBP and a 37 wRC+. Even more concerning was his uncharacteristic 20% K rate during this time.
Even with that he is a force in the nine hole of the order. Not counting today’s production he leads the league in hitting at the nine with a .336 BA and his wRC+ in the nine hole is tied for first with rookie phenom Glebar Torres at 159.
The Astros are off tomorrow before embarking on the last leg of the road trip for a series with the Angels in Anaheim.
Box score and videos here.