HOUSTON — Not this time.
Unlike his previous start in Seattle, the Mariners didn’t let Astros pitcher Collin McHugh turn into Nolan Ryan against them.
This result was much more expected, the Mariners banged out eight hits and scored six runs (five earned) off McHugh and knocking him from the game after four innings and setting an early tone in an 8-7 win at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.
The win meant a series win against a team they should beat. They are now 3-3 against the Astros this season. And while Friday night’s loss with Felix Hernandez on the mound was a viewed as a frustrating disappointment by fans, the Mariners have still won four of their last five games and are now 14-15.
Seattle scored a run off of McHugh in the first inning. Michael Saunders singled, advanced to third when McHugh’s pick-off move got by first baseman Chris Carter and scored on Robinson Cano’s groundball to first.
It was one more run than they scored against McHugh on April 22 when he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out 12 batters.
The Mariners broke open the game in the top of the third. Willie Bloomquist delivered a two-run double to right field. Robinson Cano hammered a triple to center to score Bloomquist and Corey Hart singled home Cano to make it 5-1.
The added a run in the fourth on a RBI single from Saunders.
The six runs off of McHugh were needed because his counterpart—Seattle starter Brandon Maurer—wasn’t particularly sharp, but managed to limit damage.
Maurer gave up a solo home run to Alex Presley in the second inning that tied the game at 1-1. Given a 5-1 lead after third, he gave up two runs in the fourth on Carter’s double to left.
His teammates pushed the lead to 7-3 in the fifth and he promptly gave up a solo homer to Jonathan Villar in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-4. After five innings and 88 pitches, he was done for the day.
The Mariners being the Mariners, victory didn’t come easy. John Buck pushed the lead to 8-4 in the eighth inning, lining a RBI single to right field for his third hit of the game.
The four-run cushion was needed. After two scoreless innings of relief from Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush came on to pitch the eighth inning and gave up a single and a ground rule double. With Yoervis Medina and Fernando Rodney unavailable because of heavy workload, Danny Farquhar was brought in. He immediately gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Marc Krauss to make it 8-6. Farquhar was able to stop the bleeding, retiring the next three batters to end the eighth.
In the ninth, Jose Altuve smoked a one-out double to left and later scored when Jason Castro’s hard ball up the middle couldn’t be fielded by Bloomquist at shortstop to make it 8-7. But Farquhar ended the game and picked up his first save of the season, striking out Matt Dominguez.