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Astros overcome 6 DPs, edge M's in 'pen battle

Valdez earns first career win after callup
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- Lefty Framber Valdez turned what could have been a steady stream of relievers out of the Astros' bullpen on Tuesday night into his Major League coming-out party. And a night he'll never forget.

Valdez, called up earlier in the day after pitching in only two games at Triple-A Fresno, threw 4 1/3 innings in relief, allowing only an unearned run, and picking up his first career win in the Astros' 3-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

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SEATTLE -- Lefty Framber Valdez turned what could have been a steady stream of relievers out of the Astros' bullpen on Tuesday night into his Major League coming-out party. And a night he'll never forget.

Valdez, called up earlier in the day after pitching in only two games at Triple-A Fresno, threw 4 1/3 innings in relief, allowing only an unearned run, and picking up his first career win in the Astros' 3-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.

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"I was very inspired on the mound and remembered all the people that were involved in helping me to get to this point -- scouts, coaches and just thinking about them," Valdez said. "This game was really dedicated to all those people who were involved from a baseball standpoint and obviously my family as well."

Valdez kept the game ball and underwent some good-natured hazing by his teammates in the clubhouse after the game -- the nature of which no one would say. It didn't seem to bother Valdez, who gave a speech to his teammates.

"It was incredible," he said. "I felt great. I was so happy to celebrate my first win at the big league level and I was very happy to celebrate with my teammates."

The Astros overcame grounding into a franchise-record -- and American League record-tying -- six double plays by getting a sacrifice fly by Carlos Correa (3-for-3) in the third inning, a solo homer by Josh Reddick in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth by Yuli Gurriel.

"I don't think it's frustrating at all if we win," Reddick said when asked about the double plays. "I'll take eight of them if we get a win, especially right now. I think it can be frustrating at times, but at the end of the day we got the W and had some big swings. Yuli with the big single to get it through and get that little difference-maker for us."

Video: HOU@SEA: Reddick crushes a long solo homer to right

The Astros won for only the third time in 11 games to remain tied with the A's for first place in the American League West, with the Mariners falling 4 1/2 games back.

Needing a sixth starting pitcher for the first time this season, the Astros turned to reliever Brad Peacock, who threw 1 2/3 innings in his first start since Game 3 of last year's American League Division Series before handing the ball to Valdez. He allowed two hits, walked one, hit three batters and struck out four batters.

"It's hard not be incredibly impressed, first off by the demeanor," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We didn't script it to where he was going to enter with guys on base, but with the way the game played out, it was his time and we kind of threw him into the fire and responded with a big first out and that helped calm him down."

Video: SEA@HOU: Hinch on Valdez's debut in 3-2 victory

Valdez, who pitched most of this season at Double-A, pounded the strike zone and threw 42 of his 67 pitches for strikes, featuring a devastating curveball he threw 28 times. He touched 95 mph with his fastball.

"He was nervous at the very beginning," Hinch said. "He faced some guys he probably looked up to in [Robinson] Cano and [Jean] Segura. He knows the big leagues is really tough, but he pounded the strike zone with a lot of confidence. He's got a wipeout breaking ball, so he fits right in."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Mariners threatened late in the game, cutting the lead to 3-2 in the eighth against Roberto Osuna. They had runners at first and third base with one out before Osuna came back to strike out Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon swinging to end the inning. Hinch said before the game Osuna would get most of the closing opportunities, but wound up pitching Osuna in the eighth with Hector Rondon working the ninth for the save. Hinch explained Osuna was warming up in the seventh in case there was more trouble, and once he was ready to pitch, he was going to pitch the eighth inning regardless.

"Sometimes the best laid plans don't map out perfectly, but tonight he wasn't the closer," Hinch said.

Said Osuna: "I'm expecting to win games and be in the postseason and do the best that I can to help the team. No matter the situation, I come in. We are a good team and any of us can cover the ninth inning. I'm here to help."

Video: HOU@SEA: Osuna strikes out Gordon, strands 2 in 8th

SOUND SMART
The Astros are 15-37 when scoring three or fewer runs.

HE SAID IT
"Is it a record? It should be a record. If we're going to hit into that many, it should be a record." -- Hinch, on the double plays

UP NEXT
The Astros will send Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.85 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday's 3:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Morton has won only once in his last six starts, but he has a 2.62 ERA in that span with five quality starts. Lefty Marco Gonzales (12-8, 3.91 ERA) will start for Seattle.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

Altuve activated from disabled list

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve was activated from the 10-day disabled list for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, the club announced.

Altuve kept the ball from his first Triple-A hit

SEATTLE -- Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve was activated from the 10-day disabled list for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, the club announced.

Altuve kept the ball from his first Triple-A hit

Altuve has missed 21 games since coming out of the Astros' win over the Rockies on July 25 at Coors Field with a sore right knee. He went 1-for-3 in a Minor League rehab outing on Sunday for Triple-A Fresno and rejoined the Major League club on Monday in nearby Seattle. Altuve went through a normal pregame routine on Monday.

The Astros went 8-13 with Altuve out of the lineup. He was leading the AL in hits when he was injured. The six-time All-Star is hitting .329 with a .392 on-base percentage, nine homers and 46 RBIs in 104 games for the Astros.

"I'm excited," Altuve said Monday. "This is a great team. I know you guys know I love every single part about this team and the way they play. We're in first place and most likely we're going to be in the playoffs, and I have a lot of confidence in my teammates, and I just want to be a part of this."

This was Altuve's first appearance on the disabled list in his eight seasons in the Majors. He has played through nagging injuries in years past.

Video: HOU@COL: Altuve exits the game with knee discomfort

"He was in unchartered territory," manager AJ Hinch said. "He didn't know how to feel or what to think and he was very nervous and rightfully so. Now that he's been able to build back a little confidence and get some soreness out and go play a game and feel good about his change of direction on defense and offense, he's a lot more confident that things are OK."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Jose Altuve

Astros tab Osuna as closer, replacing Rondon

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- Three weeks after being acquired by the Astros in a trade from the Blue Jays, right-hander Roberto Osuna has replaced Hector Rondon as closer. Osuna, a former All-Star closer with Toronto, will get most of the closing opportunities going forward, manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday.

Hinch stressed Osuna will still be in play to pitch in other roles earlier in the game, in much the same way Rondon could still close games on occasion. Rondon took over for Ken Giles as closer in late June and converted 13 of 16 save chances.

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SEATTLE -- Three weeks after being acquired by the Astros in a trade from the Blue Jays, right-hander Roberto Osuna has replaced Hector Rondon as closer. Osuna, a former All-Star closer with Toronto, will get most of the closing opportunities going forward, manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday.

Hinch stressed Osuna will still be in play to pitch in other roles earlier in the game, in much the same way Rondon could still close games on occasion. Rondon took over for Ken Giles as closer in late June and converted 13 of 16 save chances.

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"In a perfect world, everybody pitches perfectly and gets everybody out and guys can settle into particular innings," Hinch said. "Using the plan that I can use these guys at any given time is still the best plan moving forward. Osuna's had tremendous success in getting the last three outs of a game or last four outs of a game or last five outs of a game.

"I don't know him well enough to know how he responds to four- and five- and six-out outings, but he's going to finish a lot of games. We haven't had a game for him to finish yet. If that leads to a four- or five- or six-out save, then great."

Osuna saved nine games for the Blue Jays this year before serving a 75-game suspension under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy. Osuna saved 104 games in three-plus years with the Blue Jays, including 39 last year when he was named to the All-Star team.

Springer misses another start
All-Star outfielder George Springer was out of the starting lineup Tuesday for a second consecutive game after being scratched from Monday's series opener in Seattle with a left sore left quadriceps muscle. Hinch said Springer is still day to day.

"If I can use him in an at-bat tonight, then I will," Hinch said. "If I can't, we'll move the day-to-day conversation until [Wednesday]."

Springer, who missed eight games on the DL with a left thumb sprain, showed up at the ballpark Monday complaining of left leg soreness and was immediately pulled from the lineup. He went 3-for-13 in the weekend series against the A's and appeared to be favoring his left thumb at times. Hinch said the World Series MVP will likely have to deal with thumb soreness the rest of the season.

Valdez gets callup
Because they needed a pitcher capable of throwing multiple innings for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, in which the Astros were going to piece together using relief pitchers, the team purchased the contract of lefty Framber Valdez, their No. 11-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. Lefty Cionel Perez was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Monday's game.

Video: MIA@HOU: Valdez strikes out Van Slyke to earn save

"I'm very happy and very emotional about this opportunity to be called up and very thankful for everything and very happy for myself and my family and hoping to take advantage of it," Valdez said through an interpreter. "The manager called me over and said, 'Hey, are you ready to pitch?' And I told him I was ready. 'Are you ready to pitch in Sacramento?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Actually, you're going to be pitching in the big leagues' and that was very, very exciting for me."

Valdez, 24, will be making his first appearance on a Major League roster after going 6-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 22 games (14 starts) this year, with all but two appearances coming at Double-A Corpus Christi. He threw 5 2/3 innings Aug. 14 for Fresno in his most recent appearance but has been tough on lefties in his career and throws strikes.

"The more that Cionel hadn't pitched, the less comfortable we were with extending him to 45, 50, 60 pitches, even though he has a history of [starting]," Hinch said. "He pitched once in the last 10 days and had only thrown one time in Triple-A when we sent him down. Valdez is built up to absorb a number of pitches tonight if we need it or a number of innings tonight if we can get it. Given the way the game was shaping up after how our 'pen was used [Monday] night, we valued the number of pitches and the number of innings that Framber's on a more routine basis is used to doing."

The Astros signed Valdez out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 when he was 21 years old. Perez had appeared in six games in two stints with the Astros this year, allowing three runs in seven innings. He's spent most of the season in the Minors, going 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) for Double-A Corpus Christi. He's also appeared in one game for Fresno.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Roberto Osuna

Bukauskas posts third straight scoreless start

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Once viewed as the least-known prospect acquired from the Mariners in the offseason Dee Gordon trade, Robert Dugger has shed that distinction in his first season with Miami.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Once viewed as the least-known prospect acquired from the Mariners in the offseason Dee Gordon trade, Robert Dugger has shed that distinction in his first season with Miami.

Dugger, the Marlins' No. 22 prospect, set a career high with 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings to lead Double-A Jacksonville past Birmingham, 3-1, and record his fourth win in five starts. He struck out seven consecutive batters at one point in the outing and ultimately allowed three hits and two walks while throwing 63 of his season-high 107 pitches for strikes.

Dugger's 10th strikeout

The 23-year-old right-hander struck out the side during a perfect first inning and then fanned the final two batters in the following frame. Dugger struck out the side in the third inning and posted back-to-back strikeouts to open the fourth to complete his stretch of seven straight strikeouts. Over his final 3 1/3 frames, Dugger did not record a strikeout.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Dugger has now tossed exactly seven scoreless innings in three of his last five starts. He's 4-0 in that span, with a 1.31 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.

Promoted to Jacksonville on May 18, Dugger owns a 4.20 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 34 walks over 94 1/3 innings (16 starts) in the Southern League. Overall, he's registered a 3.65 ERA, with 126 strikeouts and 42 walks, over a career-high 135 2/3 innings (23 starts) across two levels.

Other top prospect performances from Tuesday's action:

No. 43 overall prospect Austin Riley (Braves' No. 4) homered in both ends of Triple-A Gwinnett's doubleheader against Durham. The 21-year-old third baseman went deep in his first at-bat in both contests, as he hit a first-inning solo shot in the opener and then added a two-run shot in the nightcap. He's now homered seven times in 61 games with Gwinnett and 14 times in 94 games this season.

Riley's two-run homer

• No. 46 overall prospect Estevan Florial (Yankees' No. 2) hit a solo home run and a double before finishing 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs for Class A Advanced Tampa. It marked the fourth straight multihit performance by the 20-year-old outfielder, who's hitting .381 with 10 runs scored over his last 10 games. Overall, Florial has produced a .260/.364/.372 line with three homers and 15 doubles over 65 games in the Florida State League.

Astros No. 8 prospect J.B. Bukauskas allowed two hits over five innings en route to his third straight scoreless start for Class A Advanced Buies Creek. He struck out seven in the outing, matching his season high, but also issued four walks and threw 49 of 91 pitches for strikes. He's posted 17 scoreless frames in those three outings and owns a 0.78 ERA over his first four starts in the Carolina League.

Brewers No. 14 prospect Trey Supak picked up his fourth straight win for Double-A Biloxi as he spun six scoreless frames. The right-hander, who struck out six and yielded three hits, has a 3.38 ERA through 14 starts with the Shuckers and has held the opposition without an earned run in four of his past six starts. Fellow Brewers prospects Corey Ray (No. 3) and Trent Grisham (No. 20) also contributed to the win as each hit a solo homer.

Supak's sixth strikeout

Orioles No. 5 prospect Grayson Rodriguez, a first-round pick from the 2018 Draft, has gotten off to a fast start in his career and that continued with another scoreless outing. The right-hander struck out five and gave up two hits over three innings. While Rodriguez hasn't pitched more than three innings in any of his starts, he has posted a 1.40 ERA through 19 1/3 innings and held the opposition without a run in seven of his nine starts.

Phillies No. 13 prospect Francisco Morales established a pair of a career highs as he racked up 11 strikeouts over six innings in a win for Class A Short-Season Williamsport. He allowed one earned run on three hits and two walks while throwing 58 of 83 pitches for strikes in the dominant outing. The 18-year-old right-hander has compiled 57 strikeouts against 29 strikeouts over 45 2/3 innings (11 starts) in the New York-Penn League.

Pirates No. 8 prospect Bryan Reynolds hit a solo home run and collected a season-high four hits to help power Double-A Altoona past Binghamton, 9-2. He also hit a double and scored three runs in the contest to finish 4-for-5. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .288/.370/.438 on the season, with seven homers, 17 doubles and 39 RBIs in 75 games.

Rangers No. 10 prospect Bubba Thompson hit a solo home run and recorded four hits out of the leadoff spot to help lead Class A Hickory over Greenville, 14-4. Thompson led off the fifth inning with his eighth home run of the season and later added a two-run single as part of an 11-run frame for Hickory. The 2017 first-rounder is slashing .295/.350/.461 with 28 extra-base hits and 28 steals through 74 games in his first full season.

Rays No. 20 prospect Resly Linares allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit over six-plus innings, striking out seven and walking two, as he recorded his fourth win in as many starts for Class A Bowling Green. The 20-year-old southpaw surrendered a single to the first batter he faced before settling in and retiring 17 straight. He pitched into the seventh inning but was replaced after issuing back-to-back walks to open the frame. Over 15 starts, Linares has pitched to a 3.23 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 22 walks in 75 1/3 innings.

Reds No. 20 prospect Josiah Gray allowed one earned run over 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three in a no-decision for Rookie-level Greeneville. The 2018 Competitive Balance Round B pick has allowed one or fewer earned runs in eight of his 11 starts, pitching to a 2.55 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings overall. Over his last 14 1/3 innings, the 20-year-old right-hander has given up just two hits.

Rockies No. 6 prospect Ryan Rolison, the club's first-round pick in 2018 Draft, fired three hitless innings in a dominant start for Rookie-level Grand Junction. He struck out three and picked off the one batter he allowed to reach first base (via a walk). With 23 pro innings (seven starts) under his belt, the 21-year-old left-hander owns a 1.96 ERA with 28 strikeouts and just 12 hits allowed (.146 BAA).

Yankees No. 8 prospect Trevor Stephan carried a no-hit bid into the fourth inning before completing five innings of one-run ball for Double-A Trenton. He ultimately allowed one hit in the outing while striking out seven and walking a pair. The 22-year-old's strong outing comes after he'd allowed 13 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings across his previous three starts.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Astros prospect Valdez gets inaugural callup

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- The Astros are swapping out left-handed pitchers and have called up Framber Valdez, their 11th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, from Triple-A Fresno to take the roster spot of Cionel Perez, who was optioned to Fresno following Monday's loss to the Mariners.

Valdez will be making his first appearance on a Major League roster after going 6-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 22 games (14 starts) this year, with all but two appearances coming with Double-A Corpus Christi. The 24-year-old threw 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 14 for Fresno in his most recent appearance, so he would be ready to pitch multiple innings Tuesday in a game the Astros are patching together with relievers (Brad Peacock is starting).

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SEATTLE -- The Astros are swapping out left-handed pitchers and have called up Framber Valdez, their 11th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, from Triple-A Fresno to take the roster spot of Cionel Perez, who was optioned to Fresno following Monday's loss to the Mariners.

Valdez will be making his first appearance on a Major League roster after going 6-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 22 games (14 starts) this year, with all but two appearances coming with Double-A Corpus Christi. The 24-year-old threw 5 2/3 innings on Aug. 14 for Fresno in his most recent appearance, so he would be ready to pitch multiple innings Tuesday in a game the Astros are patching together with relievers (Brad Peacock is starting).

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The Astros signed Valdez out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 when he was 21 years old.

Perez, Houston's No. 4-ranked prospect, has appeared in six games over two stints with the Astros this year, allowing three runs in seven innings. He's spent most of the season in the Minors, going 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) for Corpus Christi. Perez has also appeared in one game for Fresno.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

Astros' nicknames for Players' Weekend

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.

Here are the nicknames the Astros will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:

For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.

Here are the nicknames the Astros will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:

Video: Get ready, 2018 Players' Weekend is August 24-26

:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::

Shop for Players' Weekend gear
2018 Players' Weekend nicknames
Best nickname for every team
All you need to know about Players' Weekend

Jose Altuve: "TUVE"
Alex Bregman: "A-BREG"
Gerrit Cole: "COLE TRAIN"
Carlos Correa: "I AM GROOT"
J.D. Davis: "JD"
Chris Devenski: "THE DRAGON"
Derek Fisher: "FISHER"
Evan Gattis: "BULL"
Marwin Gonzalez: "MARGO"
Yuli Gurriel: "LA PIÑA"
Jandel Gustave: "GUSTAVE"
Will Harris: "BILL"
Tony Kemp: "KEMPY"
Dallas Keuchel: "DAVID BURD"
Jake Marisnick: "BIG FUDGE"
Lance McCullers Jr.: "PERDOMO"
Collin McHugh: "Mu Q"
Martin Maldonado: "VALDEZ"
Brian McCann: "UNO SEIS"
Charlie Morton: "GROUND CHUCK"
Roberto Osuna: "OSUNA"
Brad Peacock: "P"
Ryan Pressly: "PRESSLY"
Josh Reddick: "RED DAWG"
Hector Rondon: "RONDY"
Tony Sipp: "SIPP"
Joe Smith: "SMITTY"
George Springer: "SPRINGER"
Max Stassi: "STASSINELLI"
Justin Verlander: "J V"
Tyler White: "WHITEY"

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

Astros slip late vs. M's, fall into 1st place tie

Marwin paces offense with 3 hits, falls triple shy of cycle
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- If the thick smoked that enveloped Safeco Field on Monday night wasn't enough to choke the Astros, the Mariners' relentless lineup certainly wasn't about to let the defending World Series champs breathe.

The Mariners banged out 14 hits, including seven extra-base hits, and had runners on base in every inning, including the eighth when Robinson Cano banged a go-ahead three-run homer off Collin McHugh to send Seattle to a 7-4 win -- its fifth in a row over Houston in the past two weeks.

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SEATTLE -- If the thick smoked that enveloped Safeco Field on Monday night wasn't enough to choke the Astros, the Mariners' relentless lineup certainly wasn't about to let the defending World Series champs breathe.

The Mariners banged out 14 hits, including seven extra-base hits, and had runners on base in every inning, including the eighth when Robinson Cano banged a go-ahead three-run homer off Collin McHugh to send Seattle to a 7-4 win -- its fifth in a row over Houston in the past two weeks.

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"They outhit us and put a lot of pressure on us from the very beginning of the game," manager AJ Hinch said. "We had one baserunner after the third inning. They did enough to win the game, obviously, with some big at-bats. We got out of some jams and were fortunate to keep it where it was at the time, but they continued to battle and came up with some big swings."

The Astros, who have lost eight of 10 games, are tied with the A's for first place with the Mariners lurking 3 1/2 games back in the American League West race.

"We just have to play consistent baseball through the end of the season, and I think we're pretty confident if we do that we're going to win this division," McHugh said. "That's where our minds are at. That's where we're headed. We have some work to do tomorrow."

Cano was in the final days of serving his 80-game suspension when the Mariners swept the Astros in four games last week at Minute Maid Park, and he proved to be the difference-maker on Monday when he hit a 1-0 McHugh fastball over the wall in left-center to snap a 4-4 tie.

"He's a great player," Hinch said. "He's a big addition. It's like making a huge trade at the Deadline for a middle-of-the-order bat. It's hard to navigate through him. He's been historically tough on us, this season has been tough on us and tonight has been tough on us."

McHugh (5-2) said the pitch to Cano was supposed to be a fastball away, but it caught more of the plate than he wanted to.

"He is who he is for a reason," McHugh said. "We saw what he's capable of doing today in big situations. I've got to pitch a little better than that."

Marwin Gonzalez, who had three of his club's five hits, helped the Astros to a 4-2 lead after three innings against Felix Hernandez by hitting a solo homer in the first and a two-run double in the third. Houston starter Gerrit Cole allowed a pair of runs in a messy first inning and wound up giving up three (two earned) and seven hits in five inconsistent innings in a no-decision.

Video: HOU@SEA: Cole strikes out Zunino in the 2nd

"They just battled me tonight," Cole said. "They hit a lot of good pitches. Two of the hits were poor pitch selection or poor pitch execution. For the most part, I think just a lot of credit goes to them. They're tough outs throughout the entire night from every single inning."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Dee Gordon beat out an infield hit with one out in the eighth after arguing a called strike during the at-bat that wound up getting Mariners manager Scott Servais ejected. Gordon hit a grounder to the right side of the infield that was fielded by first baseman Tyler White, but McHugh was late covering first and the speedy Gordon beat the play. That set up the inning, with Mitch Haniger drawing a walk before Cano's homer.

Video: HOU@SEA: Gordon motors down line for infield hit

"I was a step slow," McHugh said. "I thought he hit it a little harder than he did and I thought it was right at Whitey. I saw it hit the ground and knew I was going to have to hustle, but he's fast. That set the tone for the rest of that inning. It's unfortunate, but the way it worked."

SOUND SMART
Gonzalez is hitting .375 with seven runs, two doubles, one triple, three homers and 10 RBIs this season against the Mariners. Three of his five three-hit games have been against Seattle.

Video: HOU@SEA: Gonzalez laces a 2-run double into the gap

UP NEXT
Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve will return from the disabled list after missing 21 games with a sore knee at 9:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Right-hander Brad Peacock will come out of the bullpen to start for the Astros in the first of what's likely to be a steady stream of relievers. Right-hander Mike Leake (8-7, 3.90 ERA) will start for Seattle.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole, Marwin Gonzalez

Springer scratched with left quad soreness

Astros All-Star outfielder is also dealing with thumb issue
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

SEATTLE -- Only days after being activated from the disabled list, Astros outfielder George Springer was scratched from the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Mariners with a sore left quadriceps muscle. Manager AJ Hinch said Springer was available off the bench, but he wasn't needed in a 7-4 loss loss at Safeco Field.

Springer, who missed eight games on the DL with a left thumb sprain, showed up at the ballpark on Monday complaining of left leg soreness and he was immediately pulled from the lineup.

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SEATTLE -- Only days after being activated from the disabled list, Astros outfielder George Springer was scratched from the starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Mariners with a sore left quadriceps muscle. Manager AJ Hinch said Springer was available off the bench, but he wasn't needed in a 7-4 loss loss at Safeco Field.

Springer, who missed eight games on the DL with a left thumb sprain, showed up at the ballpark on Monday complaining of left leg soreness and he was immediately pulled from the lineup.

View Full Game Coverage

"That, for me, is non-negotiable," Hinch said. "We're going to take him out of the lineup and I can utilize him in a one at-bat scenario more so than risk having any more irritation. Something bothered him his last at-bat [on Sunday in Oakland]. He's not really sure what happened. We don't think it's significant, but enough for us to have an excuse to get him out of the lineup. It helps his thumb, it helps his leg. I'll use him in a critical at-bat if the situation warrants it."

Springer went 3-for-13 in the weekend series against the A's and appeared to be favoring his left thumb at times. Hinch said the World Series Most Valuable Player will likely have to deal with thumb soreness the rest of the season.

"There's not going to be a gap in time where he completely gets the soreness out of him," he said. "We saw him hit some balls over 100 mph, so I think it's more foul balls and swing and misses, and check swings that irritate him. He's a tough kid. He'll be fine. It's nothing he's going to do damage to or anything he can't handle. You may see some uncomfortable swings for the foreseeable future."

Injury updates
Veteran catcher Brian McCann and reliever Chris Devenski joined the club on Monday following their injury rehab outings over the weekend for Triple-A Fresno, which was playing in nearby Tacoma. Both are getting closer to being activated, but they will first head to Double-A Corpus Christi this week to play in more Minor League rehab games.

McCann, who underwent surgery on July 3 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, said his knee feels the best it's felt in years. He caught five innings for Fresno on Saturday and will work himself up to nine innings at Double-A before being activated, which could happen before rosters expand Sept. 1.

"The stability in my knee, that's what I haven't had," McCann said. "When I plant to hit, my knee would give out. Now I have some stability in there and it's night and day."

Devenski, meanwhile, has made two rehab outings at Fresno after going on the disabled list July 31 with right hamstring tightness. He threw a bullpen Monday in Seattle with pitching coach Brent Strom watching him perform.

"He'll take a couple of days off and throw his inning or inning-plus in Corpus as he works his way back to Houston," Hinch said. "By the time we get back to Houston [on Aug. 27], we have at least our options open to what is next for these guys, their readiness to rejoin us and we all know Sept. 1 is not too far away. We'll determine that when we're in the same state and same vicinity of the country."

Tuesday's starter update
The Astros haven't yet announced a starter for Tuesday's game against the Mariners. After using only five starting pitchers all season, the club needs a replacement for Lance McCullers Jr., who went on the disabled list on Aug. 5 with right elbow discomfort. Houston has been using off-days to employ a four-man rotation, but it will need a fresh arm on Tuesday.

Hinch said he called Mariners manager Scott Servais and told him the team plans to start a right-hander, which will come from among this group of relievers: Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, Joe Smith or Will Harris. It all depends on whether they pitch in Monday's series opener.

Regardless, the Astros will treat Tuesday's game as a "bullpen day," meaning a steady stream of relievers will have to pitch considering neither McHugh, Peacock, Smith or Harris are built up to pitch deep into a game.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, George Springer

Altuve kept ball from his first Triple-A hit

Jose Altuve has accomplished a great deal as a baseball player. He's won a Gold Glove and multiple Silver Slugger Awards. He's won three American League batting titles and a World Series. His trophy case also features a 2017 AL MVP Award.

Despite leading the American League in hits four times, Altuve had never recorded a single hit at Triple-A. He was at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2011 when he got called up to the Astros and he's never looked back. On Sunday, in preparation for his return to the Astros on Tuesday, Altuve played in his first career game at Triple-A in a rehab appearance with the Fresno Grizzlies. In the sixth inning, he hit a single to right field for his first hit at that level. 

Verlander's 200th win puts Astros alone in first

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

OAKLAND -- The 200th win of Justin Verlander's tremendous resume certainly won't go down as one of his best performances of his career, or even the season. Verlander overcame three Oakland homers and became tough as nails once the Astros took the lead for the second time in the fourth inning.

Even then, Verlander couldn't breathe easily until reliever Brad Peacock stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning, striking out Mark Canha to preserve a two-run lead and help the Astros secure a much-needed 9-4 win over the A's on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.

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OAKLAND -- The 200th win of Justin Verlander's tremendous resume certainly won't go down as one of his best performances of his career, or even the season. Verlander overcame three Oakland homers and became tough as nails once the Astros took the lead for the second time in the fourth inning.

Even then, Verlander couldn't breathe easily until reliever Brad Peacock stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning, striking out Mark Canha to preserve a two-run lead and help the Astros secure a much-needed 9-4 win over the A's on Sunday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.

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"A win's a win," said Verlander, who improved to 16-6 all-time against Oakland in the regular season and playoffs. "This is one of the tougher ones I've had to get this year, specifically. … These guys are a great ballclub and it was a hard-fought battle today. Our boys swung the bat and we came out on top -- an all-around great day."

Tweet from @astros: Another milestone to check off ������Congratulations, @JustinVerlander! pic.twitter.com/GLCF9MN774

Verlander (12-8) is the 114th pitcher in Major League history to reach 200 wins, joining Bartolo Colon and (247) and CC Sabathia (244) as the only active pitchers to reach the milestone. After the game, teammate Gerrit Cole gave a speech in the clubhouse recapping his career, and Verlander's teammates sprayed him with champagne.

"We don't know the way the game's changing where 200 wins historically stands anymore," Verlander said. "I think everybody understands it's a little more special than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago, but still, it's something I've taken a lot of pride in, which is just pitching, even through injuries, or whatever. Just being out there for my team -- Detroit, Houston -- it's a special moment for me. I don't even know how to put it into words. I've been through a lot, and for these guys to have them celebrate with me that way, it's pretty cool."

Video: HOU@OAK: Verlander discusses his 200th career win

The Astros won for just the second time in nine games and moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League West over the A's, who fell one game back. The Mariners are 4 1/2 games behind Houston and will host the Astros beginning Monday.

"It's a good race," Verlander said. "These guys are no fluke whatsoever. We have the toughest division in baseball, without a doubt. The three teams are going to fight and claw all the way to the finish."

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who hit one of Houston's season-high-tying five homers, said it "was very important" for the team to get back on track after losing the first two games of the series.

Video: HOU@OAK: Astros blast 5 homers in a win in Oakland

"We had a battle mentality and that's us," Bregman said. "That's what we do. We pass the torch to the next guy. It was very different on defense, at the dish and a really good step forward. We build off today and take the momentum from today into Seattle."

Yuli Gurriel's three-run homer in the third gave the Astros a 4-2 lead against Sean Manaea (11-9) after Verlander gave up solo homers to Matt Chapman and Khris Davis in the first. Davis hit a two-run homer in the third to tie the game.

Video: HOU@OAK: Gurriel blasts a go-ahead 3-run home run

Verlander sent down the next eight batters as the Astros took the lead on an Evan Gattis homer in the fourth and went ahead 6-4 in the fifth when Martin Maldonado tripled and scored. Maldonado and Bregman homered in the seventh for an 8-4 lead, leaving Maldonado a single shy of the cycle.

"I just loved everything about how we approached the game today -- preparation to getting into the game after being punched in the face a little bit with their two homers in the first," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We answered with a counter-punch and kept coming at them. … A complete game for us, which we needed at this time."

Video: HOU@OAK: Hinch discusses Verlander, important win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Verlander was lifted from the game after giving up consecutive one-out singles in the sixth, putting runners at first and third with one out. Peacock was brought into the game to face Stephen Piscotty, who represented the go-ahead run, and struck him out. After walking Marcus Semien to load the bases, Peacock struck out Canha to end the inning and preserve the 6-4 lead.

"It was just trying to do my job," Peacock said. "I had a rough one [Saturday] and was trying to find the slider. Happily, I did. For [Verlander] to get his 200th win, it's really impressive. It's only a career I can dream about. I'm so happy for him."

Video: HOU@OAK: Peacock fans Canha to leave the bases loaded

SOUND SMART
Maldonado is the first catcher in Astros history to record a double, triple and homer in the same game, and he's the first player in club history to have a double, triple and homer from the ninth spot in the batting order.

HE SAID IT
"I asked the third-base coach if he had any oxygen for me." -- Maldonado, on his fifth-inning triple

Video: HOU@OAK: Maldonado launches a solo HR to left in 7th

UP NEXT
Cole (11-5, 2.71 ERA) gets the start for the Astros in their series opener at 9:10 p.m. CT on Monday in Seattle against the Mariners. Cole's 219 strikeouts are tied with Chris Sale for second-most in the AL, behind teammate Justin Verlander. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-11, 5.62 ERA) will start for Seattle.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Yuli Gurriel, Martin Maldonado, Justin Verlander

Marisnick progresses toward rehab assignment

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

OAKLAND -- Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hasn't played since straining his left groin on Aug. 10, is making such good progress that he could be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week, manager AJ Hinch said Sunday.

Marisnick did straight-line running again Sunday on the field at Oakland Coliseum and is taking batting practice with no issues.

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OAKLAND -- Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick, who hasn't played since straining his left groin on Aug. 10, is making such good progress that he could be sent out on a Minor League rehab assignment within the next week, manager AJ Hinch said Sunday.

Marisnick did straight-line running again Sunday on the field at Oakland Coliseum and is taking batting practice with no issues.

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"He's responding very favorably to the work he's doing," Hinch said. "We'll be pretty aggressive in Seattle with hopes we can get him out playing by the end of this road trip."

Marisnick is encouraged, saying the next hurdle for him will be doing some side-to-side movements without having any pain.

"I'll probably test is more tomorrow," he said. "Tomorrow will be another big day. Today was great to be pain-free. That was the biggest thing, just making sure I do all this without feeling it."

During his workout Sunday, hours before first pitch, Marisnick and Hinch "raced" on the field.

Upon hearing this, Marisnick said he was running at 30 percent and Hinch at 100 percent.

Worth noting

• Right-handed pitcher Chris Devenski, who's missed all of August with left hamstring tightness, will need a third Minor League rehab outing later this week at Double-A Corpus Christi or Triple-A Fresno.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Jake Marisnick

30 guys we want to see win it all

The veterans, or other inspiring players, who have yet to win a title
MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the best subplots of the Astros' World Series championship last season was Carlos Beltran finally getting a championship ring. While Beltran wasn't a key factor for Houston, seeing the future Hall of Famer, one of the best playoff hitters of all time, win a championship in his seventh postseason was one of the more heartwarming stories in a rather heartwarming October.

Everybody loves to see a vet finally get his title. This got us to thinking: What other old-timers would we love to see win a title who haven't won one yet? Thus, this week at The Thirty, we take a look at the Carlos Beltran on each time: The veteran, or just inspiring story, who you'd most like to see win that elusive championship. Obviously, there's not much hope for some of these guys; the Orioles have already been eliminated, after all. But you never know. These are the players who never got a title … but someday should.

One of the best subplots of the Astros' World Series championship last season was Carlos Beltran finally getting a championship ring. While Beltran wasn't a key factor for Houston, seeing the future Hall of Famer, one of the best playoff hitters of all time, win a championship in his seventh postseason was one of the more heartwarming stories in a rather heartwarming October.

Everybody loves to see a vet finally get his title. This got us to thinking: What other old-timers would we love to see win a title who haven't won one yet? Thus, this week at The Thirty, we take a look at the Carlos Beltran on each time: The veteran, or just inspiring story, who you'd most like to see win that elusive championship. Obviously, there's not much hope for some of these guys; the Orioles have already been eliminated, after all. But you never know. These are the players who never got a title … but someday should.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
Russell Martin

The longtime catcher has been around so long he was drafted by the Expos. Martin has reached the postseason a whopping nine times, but he has never reached the World Series.

Video: TB@BAL: Jones belts a 3-run homer to left-center

Orioles
Adam Jones

We know Jones wants to stay in Baltimore, and he has earned that right … but it sure would be nice to see him in the Fall Classic someday.

Rays
Carlos Gomez

Gomez has played for four teams in the postseason, none of them the Rays.

Red Sox
Chris Sale

Sale's going to have a Hall of Fame case to make someday, and having a World Series title would be a handy little feather in his cap.

Yankees
Giancarlo Stanton

After all those years in Miami, a World Series feels like Stanton's due. His next postseason game will be his first.

AL CENTRAL

Indians
Rajai Davis

We'd like to see Davis get a chance to hit another Game 7 homer.

Royals
Blaine Boyer

Boyer has pitched for 12 seasons and for nine teams -- including Boston, St. Louis and Atlanta -- and he has still never appeared in a postseason game.

Tigers
Victor Martinez

Remember: Miguel Cabrera won a title in 2003 with the Marlins.

Video: MIN@KC: Mauer sets Twins' record with 415th double

Twins
Joe Mauer

A World Series is the one thing Mauer hasn't given the Twins.

White Sox
James Shields

Big Game James was much better in his 2008 World Series appearance for the Rays than he was in his 2014 World Series appearances for the Royals.

AL WEST

Angels
Mike Trout

Still waiting for that first postseason win. It looks like Trout will still be waiting this October.

Astros
Gerrit Cole

Well, everyone else has one.

Athletics
Fernando Rodney

It has been 12 years since Rodney was last in the World Series … but it sure would be fun to see a World Series game end with the bow and arrow.

Mariners
Nelson Cruz

Just remember not to put Cruz in right field during a clinching game.

Video: TEX@DET: Beltre ties Winfield with his 3,110th hit

Rangers
Adrian Beltre

The easiest pick on the board. We should call every beloved veteran trying to win a ring before he reaches the Hall of Fame "The Beltre."

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Video: ATL@NYM: Markakis nets 4 hits, hits key homer in 10th

Braves
Nick Markakis

Markakis has only made the postseason once (2014) in his whole career.

Marlins
Starlin Castro

Castro left the Cubs right before they won one.

Mets
Jose Bautista

Imagine that bat flip in the World Series.

Nationals
Max Scherzer

Like Sale, Scherzer could use the Hall of Fame credentials of a championship.

Phillies
Carlos Santana

So close in 2016. All players on the '11 Rangers and '16 Indians get serious consideration for this list.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers
Ryan Braun

The 2011 season was probably supposed to be the one for Braun and the Brewers.

Cardinals
Michael Wacha

Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter (who was a rookie in 2011) all have rings already.

Cubs
Jesse Chavez

This 11-year vet has pitched for nine teams, but never in the postseason. Also almost everybody else on the team has a ring already.

Pirates
Ivan Nova

Nova's rookie year was right after the Yankees won their most recent title.

Video: 2018 ASG: Votto crushes solo homer in the 10th inning

Reds
Joey Votto

Is Votto going to be Beltre in four years?

AL WEST

D-backs
Brad Ziegler

The good news is that Ziegler might pitch until he's 60, giving him plenty of chances.

Video: SF@LAD: Kershaw strikes out 9 over 8 terrific frames

Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw's career is going to feel incomplete without one.

Giants
Andrew McCutchen

Cutch could become quite the mercenary the next few years trying to find the best place to get his ring.

Padres
A.J. Ellis

Any championship team needs the Veteran Backup Catcher.

Rockies
Nolan Arenado

The best way to get the respect often denied Rockies players is to win them a championship.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.