SEATTLE -- On a rare day when they didn't have injured stars George Springer, Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa in the starting lineup, the Astros had no problems lighting up the scoreboard at Safeco Field.The Astros clubbed four home runs, including two by second baseman Marwin Gonzalez, and got seven
SEATTLE -- On a rare day when they didn't have injured stars George Springer, Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa in the starting lineup, the Astros had no problems lighting up the scoreboard at Safeco Field.
The Astros clubbed four home runs, including two by second baseman Marwin Gonzalez, and got seven solid innings from lefty Dallas Keuchel to thump the Mariners, 8-3, in Wednesday afternoon's series finale.
Every Astros starter had a hit with Altuve (right knee) and Correa (back) on the disabled list and Springer being held out after hurting his left shoulder Tuesday. Houston posted consecutive games with at least 15 hits for the first time since they did it three games in a row from Sept. 26-28 of last year.
"We put up really good at-bats in a row," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I keep talking about at-bats in tandem and groups and we had some really big swings and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Those are usually good results because of good pitch selection. We had a lot of their pitchers' backs against the wall and got good pitches to hit and did a lot of damage."
Houston won two of three games from Seattle, extending its lead in the American League West to five games over the Mariners and the A's, who beat Toronto to pull even with Seattle in second place.
"We know the season goes in spurts," said Keuchel, who improved to 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his last six starts. "We're without three of our top guys. For us to get a series win here was big. It's not make or break. We're know we're good enough to win this division and play well. It's a matter of getting guys healthy and not let them get momentum, especially at their home ballpark."
Gonzalez, batting right-handed against Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc, hit a two-out homer in the second, and Jake Marisnick -- recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Fresno -- added a two-run shot later in the inning for a 3-0 lead. Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the fourth, also off LeBlanc, for his first career two-homer game off a lefty. He hadn't homered off a southpaw since Sept. 17.
"Every time you hit a homer you feel good, obviously," Gonzalez said. "I can't even remember when my last one was from the right side. I've been hitting better from my right side but not for power, so that was a surprise after my second homer."
The Astros scored four times in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead, capped by a three-run homer by catcher Max Stassi. It was Stassi's first home run since June 16.
"This is a very deep team and you go through some stretches where you don't play your best, but you can't forget this team is built pretty well, built to withstand injuries or poor performance," Hinch said. "This series proved that."
Keuchel (9-9) won for the fifth time in six starts by holding the Mariners to eight hits and three runs in seven innings. He allowed a walk and four consecutive well-placed singles in the second that led to a pair of runs, as well as a solo homer by Nelson Cruz in the sixth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Mariners had three at-bats with the bases loaded and one out against Keuchel in the second and managed RBI singles by Andrew Romine and Zach Vincej at the bottom of the order to cut the lead to 3-2. Keuchel got leadoff hitter Dee Gordon to hit a liner to Gonzalez at second that he turned into an unassisted double play, starting a string in which Keuchel sent down 11 consecutive batters.
"He didn't concede, even though they got a couple of soft hits," Hinch said. "He controlled the game. We had the 3-0 lead and everybody feels great, and within a couple of minutes they've got the bases loaded and they're threatening to tie or take the lead and he got some big outs. Never a doubt with Dallas when he's under control like that."
Wednesday marked the first time the Astros didn't have Springer, Altuve and Correa in the lineup since Aug. 4, 2017. They scored 16 runs in Toronto that day.
HE SAID IT
"He's as much a part of this team as anybody else. I didn't necessarily like the move when he was sent down. I personally don't care if he's hitting .100, he's a valuable part of our team and you can see why. He's kind of a wild card. He's a high-intensity guy, and that's what we need right now." -- Keuchel, on Marisnick
The Astros will send Justin Verlander (10-6, 2.24 ERA) to the mound when the Astros face the Dodgers in a World Series rematch beginning at 9:10 p.m. CT Friday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Verlander is 1-4 with a 3.54 ERA in his past eight starts with 70 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings. The Dodgers have yet to announce a starter for Friday's opener of the three-game series.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.