Altuve, McHugh pace Astros past Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) -- One day after an ill-advised bunt attempt in a losing effort, Jose Altuve returned to what he does best.
Altuve homered among his four hits and drove in three runs, Collin McHugh escaped a pair of bases-loaded jams to pitch six scoreless innings, and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 on Sunday.
Altuve, who bunted on his own with the tying run on second and none out in the ninth inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss, had a two-run homer and three singles in five at-bats to raise his American League-leading average to .346. McHugh (6-6) allowed four hits and walked four, striking out 10 to win for the first time in eight starts since his last victory on May 30.
"Today I went there and I wasn't thinking about bunting," Altuve said. "I was thinking about hitting the ball, driving the ball. I felt really good at the plate today, I feel really happy that we won the game."
Carlos Gomez added his second career grand slam in the seventh inning off Nathan Karns to put the Astros up 8-0.
Kyle Seager singled home Seattle's only run in the eighth off Chris Devenski.
Mike Montgomery (3-4), making his second start this season after 30 relief appearances, allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings, walking two and striking out seven.
Altuve had the green light on a 3-0 pitch in the third and delivered his 15th homer to follow Marwin Gonzalez's leadoff double, putting Houston up 3-0.
"He pretty much has a green light at life," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Stealing, hitting 3-0, hitting 0-0, he's a very gifted player, but he works at it. He's fun to be around."
The Astros made it 4-0 in the fifth when Gonzalez again doubled to open the inning, took third on a throwing error by center fielder Leonys Martin, and scored on Altuve's single to left.
The Astros hustled across an unearned run in the first. Gonzalez reached on a fielder's choice and Altuve singled. Gonzalez stole third and continued around on an error by third baseman Seager, who misplayed the throw from catcher Jesus Sucre.
The Mariners, who have lost six of their last seven against the Astros, committed four errors, walked four and left 10 runners on.
"That's the worst game we've played all year," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Messed up six or seven plays in the field today. We played a terrible ball game. There's no way you can sugarcoat that."
McHugh escaped a pair of bases-loaded situations without allowing a run.
In the first, Seager's one-out drive to right with the bases loaded barely hooked foul. Seager then struck out and Dae-Ho Lee bounced back to the mound.
In the third, the Mariners loaded the bases with no outs on a walk to Leonys Martin, a pop single by Robinson Cano on an overturned call and Nelson Cruz's single to the base of the wall in right-center. McHugh struck out Seager and then enticed Lee into an inning-ending double-play bouncer to second.
"I started sweating a little bit more when I was out there and I saw that ball, you start to give it the whole body lean a little bit," McHugh said of Seager's long foul. "That could have changed the game, could have broken the game wide open."
ALTUVE MISSES FIFTH HIT
Altuve, who struck out in his final at-bat, has 17 four-hit games in his career, but never a five-hit game. "The elusive fifth hit is hard for him," Hinch said, "It's a funny thing to say, because the first four aren't very easy for anybody but Altuve."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With nobody out in the third, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa dropped Cano's pop up while reaching across the foul line behind third base while looking back into the sun. The Mariners challenged and the call was overturned after a review estimated at 2:08, giving Cano a single to put runners at first and second.
Astros: SS Correa was hit by a pitch in the seventh. He stayed in the game but was replaced by pinch-hitter A.J Reed in the eighth. "Correa's fine. I took him out because I wanted Reed to get an at-bat and steal a couple innings of rest for him," Hinch said.
Mariners: SS Ketel Marte and OF Nelson Cruz both returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game. Marte injured his ankle Friday night and Cruz fouled a ball off the top of his left foot.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (6-3, 4.35 ERA) opens the three-game series at Oakland. Fiers allowed four earned in runs in 3 1/3 innings with a no-decision in his last start prior to the All-Star break, but he has not lost in seven starts since May 27.
Mariners: LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 3.52 ERA) makes his fourth start since being acquired in a trade with Toronto to open a three-game series at home against the White Sox.