HOUSTON – Not this time.
Unlike his previous start in Seattle, the Mariners didn’t let Astros pitcher Collin McHugh turn into Nolan Ryan against them.
This result was much more expected. The Mariners banged out eight hits and scored six runs (five earned) off McHugh, knocking him from the game after four innings and setting an early tone in an 8-7 win at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.
The M’s have won four of their last five games and are now 14-15.
Seattle scored a run off of McHugh in the first inning. It was one more run than they scored against McHugh on April 22 when he threw 62/3 scoreless innings and struck out 12.
The M’s added four runs in the third. Willie Bloomquist delivered a two-run double to right field. Robinson Cano hammered a triple to center to score Bloomquist and Corey Hart singled home Cano to make it 5-1. They added a run in the fourth on a RBI single from Saunders.
The six runs off of McHugh were needed because his counterpart – Seattle starter Brandon Maurer – wasn’t particularly sharp, but managed to limit damage.
Maurer gave up a solo home run to Alex Presley in the second inning that tied the game at 1-1. Given a 5-1 lead after third, he gave up two runs in the fourth on Chris Carter’s double to left.
His teammates pushed the lead to 7-3 in the fifth and he promptly gave up a solo homer to Jonathan Villar in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-4. After five innings and 88 pitches, he was done for the day.
John Buck pushed the lead to 8-4 in the eighth inning, lining a RBI single to right field for his third hit of the game.
As it turned out, the four-run cushion was needed.
After two scoreless innings of relief from Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush came on to pitch the eighth inning and gave up a single and a ground rule double. Danny Farquhar was brought in. He immediately gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Marc Krauss to make it 8-6.
Farquhar retired the next three batters to end the eighth inning.
The Astros scored once in the ninth before Farquhar picked up his first save of the season.