Correa cools Mariners with lumber, leather

May 7th, 2016

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa and Marwin Gonzalez homered, and Doug Fister threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball as the Astros topped the Mariners, 6-3, on Friday night at Minute Maid Park to snap Seattle's four-win streak.

Mariners starter Taijuan Walker surrendered a solo shot to Correa in the first and a two-run homer by Gonzalez in the second before being replaced due to neck spasms. The 23-year-old right-hander took the loss as his record evened at 2-2 with a 1.97 ERA.

"My neck was tight," said Walker, who said he woke up sore Friday and just never could get loose. "I couldn't really turn to see the catcher. As a result, I couldn't really finish my pitches. I was using all arm. They didn't like what they saw, so they took me out."

Fister, who started his career with Seattle from 2009-11, breezed through six scoreless frames until loading the bases in the seventh with one out. Pat Neshek replaced him and gave up a three-run triple to Ketel Marte to account for all of Fister's runs. Fister (3-3, 4.54 ERA) allowed just three hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

"It all felt good tonight," Fister said. "For me, I get in a little rhythm and go. ... [I] was just keeping the ball down and using a couple of cutters in to lefties. A big thing was our defense behind me, too."

Correa went 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs for the Astros, who have now won four of their past six to improve to 11-19. The Mariners saw their early American League West lead over Texas cut to 1 1/2 games as they fell to 17-12.


Correa's Show: Correa cranked out his second three-hit night in three games, but he may have stolen the show with his glove. With Fister's shutout still intact, Correa snagged Chris Iannetta's rocket shot on the edge of the infield dirt with the bases loaded in the seventh, lying out nearly full-extension. The stop was another in a long line of Correa defensive highlights, and this one may have prevented an even bigger inning for Seattle, which trailed from the first inning on. More >

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"Not too many shortstops have the length that he has in order to be able to reach it," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "He didn't have much time to really do anything other than lay out and where he was playing in double-play depth, he was closer to the hitter. It should be no surprise. Carlos makes a habit of making some great plays."

Covering some ground: Though the Astros cranked a pair of home runs off Walker in the first two frames, the damage could have been worse. But center fielder Leonys Martin made two long running catches -- both on balls hit farther than the home runs, per Statcast™ measurements. Martin went to the fence in the right-center gap to pull down a 400-foot drive by George Springer in the first, then ran down another 400-foot blast to the base of Tal's Hill by Luis Valbuena in the second. Martin did it again in the fifth with another long running catch to dead center on a sacrifice fly by Colby Rasmus.

"It's a big outfield," Martin said. "When the ball is over your head, the only thing you have on your mind is to run for the ball." More >

Non-solo: Gonzalez isn't known for his pop, but he finally capped his own historic home-run record. His two-run shot in the second inning was the first of his 26 career dingers that came with a runner on base. That's right: All 25 previous career homers were solo jobs. No other hitter in Major League history has tallied more than 11 home runs without bringing someone else in with him. That mark was owned by Todd Dunwoody, but the left-handed-swinging Gonzalez more than doubled it up before his liner barely cleared the wall. More >

"It feels good to get more than one RBI finally," he said. "But the more important thing was it helped us win today."

Triple trouble: The Astros looked like they might get out of Fister's bases-loaded jam in the seventh when Correa made his incredible diving catch to rob Iannetta on a one-out smash off Neshek. But Marte, the Mariners' 22-year-old shortstop, cleared the bases with his triple into the right-field corner to cut the lead to 5-3. It was Marte's first triple of the season, though the speedster hit three last year after being called up for the final two months.

"We made it interesting. I credit our guys for not packing it in," said Seattle skipper Scott Servais. "We had the big hit by Marte there to kind of get it close, but just not enough to get it going. We didn't do anything at all for the first six innings."


"We didn't know what to do. Do you celebrate, do you not celebrate? We gave him a little bit of the cold shoulder, the silent treatment. Really proud of him; it took a long time. That was a fun moment. I think everybody in the dugout knew what that moment meant, not only for our team but for Marwin to hit a two-run homer." -- Hinch


Mariners:Nathan Karns (3-1, 3.81 ERA) gets the start in Saturday's 4:10 p.m. PT game at Minute Maid Park. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last four outings, including seven shutout frames on two hits against the Astros on April 26 in Seattle.

Astros: The Astros hand the ball to ace Dallas Keuchel for the 6:10 CT first pitch, although the reigning Cy Young Award winner hasn't pitched like a front-line starter of late. He's 0-3 in his last three outings, allowing 16 runs in that span. Previously indomitable at home, Keuchel fell for the first time in 18 decisions at Minute Maid Park against Minnesota on Monday.

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