Mariners look to slow Springer, Astros
The Houston Astros’ offense finally came alive.
On Tuesday, Houston posted a season high in hits (14) and runs in a 7-5 win over the Mariners in Seattle.
“This is the team we are,” Astros second baseman Jose Altuve told the Houston Chronicle after his team rebounded from a 6-0 loss in the series opener on Monday.
The Astros and Mariners will settle the three-game series on Wednesday.
“We have a good offense,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after the Tuesday win. “We haven’t gotten on track yet, but this was a much better showing by our lineup.”
The best part of that offense thus far has been the bat of leadoff hitter George Springer.
Springer leads the majors with five home runs. Four of have come in his first at-bat, the most ever by a leadoff hitter this early in the season.
“He’s a good leadoff hitter. He’s a dangerous leadoff hitter,” Hinch said, according to the Chronicle. “Our offense when it’s worked its best has had him at the top. I appreciate the run-production conversation or questions or what could be or might be if he was in the middle of the order, but he gets the most at-bats of anybody on our team for a reason. It’s because of how dangerous he is and how dynamic he is.”
Mike Fiers (0-1) will take the mound for Houston on Wednesday against the Mariners’ Yovani Gallardo (0-1).
Fiers, who gave up one earned run and five hits in his first start, a 5-1 loss to Kansas City, is 1-0 against Seattle in four career starts.
Gallardo gave up three runs on eight hits in his Mariners debut, a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
The right-hander, who came to Seattle from Baltimore in an offseason trade, has a 15-5 record and 3.15 ERA in 22 starts against the Astros.
“I thought his stuff was very good,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The fastball was crisp and had life to it. He threw some good breaking balls. He got behind in the count a little bit but navigated his way through some trouble. I was happy with how he threw the ball.”
The Mariners will be without shortstop Jean Segura for the second straight game. Segura was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday after sustaining a hamstring injury Monday in the home opener.
“I fully expect he’ll be back and ready to go at the end of 10 days,” Servais said. “It’s disappointing. He’s off to a great start. We certainly love what he brings to our lineup and our team, but this is probably the right thing.”
Starting in Segura’s place on Tuesday, Taylor Motter responded with a three-double effort.
While Segura is out, Motter is expected to split duties with Mike Freeman, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners designated relief pitcher Paul Fry for assignment to make room for Freeman on the 40-man roster.
Following the series finale at Safeco Field, Houston and Seattle are both off Thursday.