HOUSTON - It wouldn't have been a surprise if the Astros went three up, three down in their half of the first inning on Friday night. After all, it was a tired group of players that converged at the Minute Maid Park clubhouse shortly before playing the Mariners.After winning the
HOUSTON - It wouldn't have been a surprise if the Astros went three up, three down in their half of the first inning on Friday night. After all, it was a tired group of players that converged at the Minute Maid Park clubhouse shortly before playing the Mariners.
After winning the series with the Angels on the road late Thursday, the Astros didn't land in Houston until 7 a.m. CT. Players weren't even required to report to the ballpark until two hours before the start of Friday's game.
But the late arrival didn't affect their performance on the field. The Astros weren't the least bit groggy. They came out swinging, getting three runs and three hits in the first inning off James Paxton (3-4).
The three-run outburst was the catalyst to a 5-2 victory over the Mariners that aided starter Charlie Morton, who earned his career-high 12th victory.
"One thing about our team tonight, we had great energy," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The crowd had great energy. It was nice to come home.
"This was not an easy night to play. Our guys were driving home when most people were driving to work."
The Mariners, who played at Texas on Thursday night, arrived in Houston around 1 a.m. CT.
George Springer walked to lead off the Houston first and scored from second on Jose Altuve's one-out single to center. Altuve scored on a double by Carlos Correa, who had gone 8-for-44 and only one RBI in 10 games since being activated from the disabled list on Sept. 3 with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
After Marwin Gonzalez flied out to right for the second out, Evan Gattis got the first of his two hits with a bloop single, scoring Correa and giving the Astros a 3-0 lead.
"We scored four runs over the first three innings. That was huge," Correa said. "It gave Charlie a comfortable lead and he does what he does best and he shut them down."
Correa went 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored. His first-inning double was his 20th of the season.
"I was proud of our effort level, proud of our energy," Hinch said. "We played with a little extra adrenalin today.
"Some of that has to do with, we sense what's possible [clinching AL West Division] and some of that has to do with the character of our team. I commend our guys for how we played."
Richard Dean is a contributor for MLB.com based in Houston. He covered the Astros on Friday.