Astros Wake Up Bats In Minute Maid Return, Oberholtzer stymies Mariners

After losing seven straight and being swept by both Toronto and Chicago on their last road trip, the Astros (35-27) woke up the bats to score 8 runs in the first inning off of the Mariners (27-34) and Felix Hernandez (9-3).

Hernandez only recorded one out, a strikeout against Astros rookie Carlos Correa, before being pulled. Jose Altuve got the inning started with an infield single and Preston Tucker followed with a four-pitch walk. George Springer hit a single down the first-base line to score Altuve from second and Evan Gattis reached on a fielder’s choice error by Hernandez on a throw home to score both Tucker and Springer to stretch the lead to 3-0. After the Correa strikeout, Luis Valbuena hit the Houston bullpen with his 13th home run of the season to double the Houston lead. Chris Carter then singled to the left side, before Jason Castro hit the Crawford Boxes with his seventh homer on the year to give the Astros an 8-0 cushion in the first.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch spoke about the inning after the game saying that it was one of the best they’ve had all year, “I’m really proud of our guys in the first inning against one of the most elite pitchers in the game. We put up some some good at-bats, obviously the hustle single (Altuve), we draw a walk, and put up a couple homers. Very difficult when you’re going up against a guy like Felix, but much needed.”

The eight runs Houston scored in the first inning are the most by the team since August 2008 against the San Francisco Giants in which the team also scored eight. The last time Houston scored eight or more runs in the first inning of a ball game was on July 10, 2003 against the Cincinnati Reds (9 first inning runs).

That was all the run support Brett Oberholtzer (1-1) would need as he worked eight scoreless innings on the mound allowing 0 runs on 3 hits and striking out 5. Hinch said this was the best he’s seen Oberholtzer pitch, “Very focused approach tonight. I felt like he was in complete control. He kept the game with us under control and continued to put up zeros.” Joe Thatcher finished out the ninth inning for Houston.

Houston would add home runs from Correa (2nd inning, second HR), and Carter (fifth inning, 11th HR) in the second and fifth innings to make the score 10-0 for Houston. These two teams will meet again on Saturday for game 2 of a three game set. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 CST.

WP: Brett Oberholtzer (1-1)

LP: Felix Hernandez (9-3)

The Astros didn’t escape unscathed however as all-star second basemen Jose Altuve was injured running to first base in his second at-bat of the first inning. He is currently listed as day-to-day with a right hamstring strain. He will be evaluated on Saturday before the game, but has officially been ruled OUT for the second game of the series between the Mariners and the Astros.

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