(SportsNetwork.com) – The Houston Astros try to post their longest winning
streak since 2004 on Sunday afternoon in the finale of a four-game set with
the Seattle Mariners.
The Astros have taken the first three games of this series to push their
winning streak to nine in a row, the first for the club since Sept. 20-28,
Houston muscled its way to an 11-4 win last night, with Jose Altuve hitting
one of the Astros’ five homers. His three-run shot extended his hitting streak
to 11 straight games, though Altuve did have a run of nine straight multi-hit
Evan Gattis clubbed a two-run homer, while Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus and
Hank Conger added solo shots for the Astros, who can win 10 in a row today for
the first time since a 12-game winning streak from Aug. 27-Sept. 8, 2004.
“That was a pretty explosive night,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said.
Collin McHugh gave up four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out
three in seven innings for the win.
Nelson Cruz hit two solo home runs while Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino added
solo homers for the Mariners. Taijuan Walker allowed eight runs — seven
earned — on nine hits over three-plus innings.
Seattle began a 10-game road trip with a three-game sweep of the Texas
Rangers, but will now try to avoid getting swept in four games by Houston for
the first time in franchise history.
The Astros also won three of four against the Mariners earlier this month.
“Eleven runs will take the wind out your sail a little bit. It’s kind of tough
to come back from that,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Cruz has done his best to keep his team in position to win, leading the majors
with 13 homers and 25 RBI. His 13 homers are tied for the third most in major
league history through the first 24 games of the season.
Roberto Hernandez will try to slow down Cruz as he eyes a second straight
winning start this afternoon for the Astros.
The veteran right was 0-2 with a 3.57 earned run average through his first
three starts, including a 3-2 setback in Seattle on April 22, but got plenty
of support in a 14-3 triumph at San Diego on Tuesday. He yielded three runs on
six hits, two homers and a walk over six frames with six strikeouts.
Hernandez, 34, is 2-5 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 games (9 starts) versus Seattle.
J.A. Happ gets the start today for the Mariners having won two straight starts
while not allowing two or more runs in any of his four outings.
Happ won his first game of the season on April 22, beating Houston 3-2 with 7
1/3 innings of two-run ball. The lefty followed up with a 2-1 triumph over
hosting Texas on Tuesday, allowing the one run and striking out nine over 6
Happ, 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA this season, is a perfect 3-0 versus Houston with a
2.16 ERA in four starts.