- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - Carlos Correa is starting to find his power at the plate and it’s helping the Houston Astros get back on track.

Correa homered and finished with three hits and two RBIs to lead the Astros to a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Marwin Gonzalez had a two-run homer and also doubled to help the Astros win for the third time in four games.

Correa’s homer came off Taijuan Walker (2-2) with two outs in the first inning. It was his second home run in three games after not homering in the previous 24 games.

“His cold days aren’t near as cold as others,” manager A.J. Hinch said about Correa. “But to have him be able to drive the ball the opposite way is big. I think it relaxes him to know that he can let the ball travel.”

Evan Gattis reached on an error by shortstop Ketel Marte with no outs in the second. The Astros made it 3-0 when Gonzalez sent one into the seats in right field for the first multi-run homer of his career. The first 25 homers in his five-year career were solo shots.

“That was a fun moment,” Hinch said. “I think everybody in the dugout knew what that moment meant, not only for our team but for Marwin to hit a two-run homer.”

Houston starter Doug Fister (3-3) allowed three hits and three runs with two walks in 6 1/3 innings for his second straight win. Luke Gregerson pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Walker allowed two hits and three runs - one earned - in two innings before leaving the game with neck spasms. He thinks he slept on it wrong and hopes it isn’t something that will linger.

“My neck was tight, I couldn’t really turn to finish the catcher, and as a result, I couldn’t really finish my pitches,” he said. “I was using all arms, so it was better not to push it and mess up my mechanics or anything.”

Hinch knew right away that Walker wasn’t himself on Friday night.

“His velocity wasn’t as high in the first inning as it had been in Seattle and he looked a little tentative,” he said. “He looked uncomfortable but I didn’t really know what it was. He wasn’t getting down the hill. He wasn’t as energetic as he was (before).”

Marte gave Seattle its only runs with a three-run triple in the seventh inning.

The Mariners had to piece together the rest of the game with three relievers after Walker’s early exit. Mayckol Guaipe ate up three innings, Mike Montgomery threw the next 1 2/3 innings and Steve Johnson finished the game.

Correa pushed the lead to 4-0 with a run-scoring single with one out in the fifth. Houston tacked on another run in that inning with a sacrifice fly by Colby Rasmus. Seattle center fielder Leonys Martin robbed Rasmus of a hit on that play when he sprinted to the base of Tal’s Hill and made an over-the-shoulder catch.

Seattle had managed just two singles entering the seventh inning before Fister plunked Nelson Cruz with one out in the seventh. Kyle Seager doubled and Adam Lind drew a walk to load the bases and chase Fister.

He was replaced by Pat Neshek and Correa stretched out to grab a sharp liner hit by Chris Iannetta for the second out of the inning. Marte followed with his bases-clearing triple to close the gap to 5-3.

GATTIS TO CATCH

After the game the Astros optioned Gattis to Double-A Corpus Christi to play catcher in hopes that he can help the Astros at the position. Gattis, who is the team’s designated hitter, has not caught in a game since he played 93 games behind the plate for Atlanta in 2014. “We have a mapped out program I just went through with him,” Hinch said. “He was aware that this was a possibility because we want him to get back as a catching possibility for us. The best way to do it is for him to go play.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start Saturday for Triple-A Fresno at El Paso. … C Max Stassi (left wrist surgery) began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Fresno and is expected to catch McCullers on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Mariners: Nathan Karns (3-1, 3.81 ERA) will make his sixth start this season on Saturday. He’s coming off his third straight win, a 4-3 victory over the Athletics.

Astros: Ace Dallas Keuchel (2-4, 5.11) looks to get back on track after three straight losses when he starts Saturday’s game. Keuchel allowed seven hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings - his shortest start this season - in a 6-2 loss to Minnesota on Monday that snapped his 17-game home winning streak.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide