Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.50) versus Felix Hernandez (3-0, 1.91)
My first game recap, and it's a doozy. The Astros add the scalp of King Felix to their the list of No 1 starters they have beat up on this year. (Also on the list - in order - the new & slimmer CC Sabathia, R.A. Dickey, Jered Weaver and Tanner "not Yu" Scheppers). They go to 6-14 on the year, snap a 7-game losing streak, and improve to 9-4 all time at Safeco, and 7-3 all time at Safeco whilst participating in the AL West.
On the Mound:
* Recently Nominated Ace, Dallas Keuchel, worked hard for the win, twirling 6 innings of 6 hit (2XBH), 2 run ball, whilst throwing 113 pitches. I am going to indulge myself in a bit of "analysis" here:
Staked to a two-run lead in the top of the 5th, he gave up the only run scoring play against him in the bottom-half. This was by virtue of a one-out double by Abraham Almonte, just past Marc Krauss down the right field line with runners on second and third (which got George Springer all tied in knots as the ball got stuck under the padding). He struck out 8 against one walk. Strikeouts came as follows: Ackley looking at fastball in the first; Zunino swinging at breaking ball in the 3rd, Miller looking at fastball in the 3rd, Ackley looking at fastball in the 4th, Miller swinging at breaking ball in the 5th, Ackley swinging at slider in the 5th, Cano swinging at slider in the 5th, Hart swinging at change up in the 6th.
* Chad Qualls has been voted off the Closer Committee, so he came in to pitch the 7th. And did plenty well, facing the minimum and striking out 2. He got to catch his breath after 4 pitches while the umpires reviewed Mike Zunino's looonnggg strike down the left field line.
* Matty Albers, newly minted father, pitched the 8th, giving up one hit (single), and striking out one.
* Josh Fields struck out the side on 15 pitches in the 9th, ending the game with a full-count 94mph fastball past the bat of Mike Zunino.
* All in all, Astros pitchers struck out 14 against one walk. Excellent!
At the Plate:
* Matt Dominguez got Designated as the Hitter Who Does Not Field, and had himself a good night: 2-3 (2B, HR), BB, 3 RBI.
* Alex Presley played LF and batted in the 6-hole. 3-4, scored twice, 3B, 1 RBI.
* Marc Krauss, perhaps counting down the number of plate appearances he has before the Super-Two cutoff, also did well: 2-4 (HR), K, 2 RBI. Home run was to RF was off The Bartender
*Altuve: 1-4, 2B, BB
* George Springer had his first hitless night in the Major Leagues - 0-4, K, 2 LOBbies.
* He was joined in the Hitless Club by yesterday's "Hero", Marwin Gonzalez (0-4, 3 LOB), Jonathan Villar (0-4, K), and Jason Castro (0-3, Sac Fly, 2 LOB). In Castro's defence, Steve Sparks did make a point to say that he had hit the ball hard in all his plate appearances.
I hate to say that the Turning Point was an opposition error, but... well, it was. After the Mariners tied the game in the 5th, the Astros started the 6th with an Altuve double. Fowler then bunted, which Zunino fielded and made a great throw to Kyle Seager, Mariners 3rd baseman. Well, he dropped it. After that: Sac fly (Castro), K (Springer), Single (Krauss), Triple (Presley), Double (Dominguez), ground out (Gonzalez). 4 unearned, and a bemused looking Felix Hernandez on the mound.
Man of the Match:
Matty D bounced back well after a day off, and seemed to thrive not having to worry about the leather. He earns the MOTM. Plaudits to Dallas Keuchel, Alex Presley and Mark Krauss.
Goat of the Game:
Demote George Springer already! Actually, probably Marwin.
Last word from Robert Ford, radio broadcaster: "Goodbye, 7-game losing streak!"