HOUSTON (AP)The Houston Astros shook off the hitting woes that plagued them for most of the last week, slugging four home runs in a rout of the Seattle Mariners.
Yordan Alvarez homered and had four RBIs as the Astros jumped on Yusei Kikuchi early and cruised to the 12-3 win on Friday night.
Alvarez and Jake Meyers hit two-run homers off Kikuchi (7-7) as he tied a career-high by allowing seven runs in a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
Martin Maldonado and Yuli Gurriel also homered, and Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve each hit a triple to help Houston win its second straight after dropping the previous four.
The Astros scored more runs on Friday night than they managed in those four losses, when they combined for just 10.
”To come home and start the series like that just raises the atmosphere and the mood for everybody,” Alvarez said through a translator.
Manager Dusty Baker was happy to see his team keep padding the lead after the Astros were already up big.
”We hit some balls hard on the road but nothing to show for it, so it was great for us to put up crooked numbers in all those consecutive innings,” Baker said. ”Those guys didn’t take their foot off the pedal and that’s how you play, and that’s how I like to watch them play.”
Lance McCullers Jr. (10-4) permitted five hits and two runs with eight strikeouts to get the win after losing his past two starts. He was thrilled to have so much run support.
”It was nice,” he said. ”Obviously when our lineup gets going it’s something special. Hopefully we can carry that through this homestand.”
Kyle Seager and Ty France hit solo homers for the Mariners, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
”It starts and ends with starting pitching and tonight Yusei just didn’t have it,” manager Scott Servais said. ”They were all over him … just not a very consistent night at all with his stuff.”
There was one on and one out in the first when Correa hit his first triple of the season to make it 1-0. Alvarez followed with a ground out to score Correa.
Chas McCormick walked with one out in the second before the homer by Meyers.
Correa opened Houston’s third with a single, before Alvarez’s home run to center field made it 6-0. The Astros went back-to-back when Gurriel connected on his home run to left center.
Aledmys Diaz doubled and Kikuchi walked Maldonado with two outs to end his night.
There were two outs in the fourth when the Mariners got on the board with Seager’s soaring shot to the second deck in right field.
There were runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the inning when Alvarez hit a ball to left field that a fan reached over the front row to grab, resulting in a ground-rule double because of fan interference. The crew chief called for a review and the call was upheld. Michael Brantley scored on the play to make it 8-1, and Houston added another run on a single by Gurriel. There was one out in the inning when Alvarez scored on a sacrifice fly by McCormick to leave Houston up 10-1.
Maldonado launched his homer off Erik Swanson with no outs in the fifth. Altuve followed with a triple and scored on a groundout by Brantley to pad the lead.
Mariners: RHP Casey Sadler was placed on the paternity list on Friday and will miss the series. RHP Yohan Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to take his place on the roster.
Astros: 3B Alex Bregman resumed his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday night after an almost two-week pause. Bregman, who has been out since June 17 with a strained left quadriceps, homered with four RBIs in seven innings. Baker said he didn’t know how many games Bregman would need before he can return to Houston.
PILING ‘EM UP
Friday was the first time in franchise history that the Astros scored at least two runs in each of the first five innings. It’s the first time an MLB team has done that since Oakland did it on Sept. 10, 2019, in a 21-7 win over Houston.
Houston’s Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.74 ERA) opposes Logan Gilbert (5-4, 4.42) when the series continues Saturday.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports