Jose Altuve returned from a 10-game hiatus with three hits and the Houston Astros won the opener of their four-game series against the visiting Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Monday.
Altuve, who last played April 13 but tested positive for COVID-19, finished 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBIs. He added his first stolen base of the season and reprised his role as a catalyst atop the lineup for the Astros, who improved to 4-1 to start their eight-game homestand.
Altuve was off and running early, stroking a 2-1 sinker from Mariners left-hander Justus Sheffield (1-2) for a single to center leading off the bottom of the first. Altuve swiped second base and scored when Yordan Alvarez smoked a two-out double to the left-center field gap.
The Astros extended to a 2-0 lead when Alvarez scored on Yuli Gurriel’s single to left.
The Mariners got one run back on Kyle Lewis’ solo home run with two out in the third.
However, Houston extended its lead to 4-1 in the fourth when Altuve struck again, this time with a two-run single that brought home Carlos Correa and Myles Straw. The Astros tacked on another run in the fifth, this one via Kyle Tucker’s sacrifice fly.
Despite the offense, Houston finished 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
Alvarez and Gurriel also recorded three-hit games for the Astros.
Sheffield, who had allowed 15 hits combined in his three previous starts, allowed 12 on Monday and walked one over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four.
The run support proved sufficient for Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy (1-2), who set the Mariners down in order only twice — the fourth and fifth innings — but eluded the big inning.
Urquidy stranded a pair of baserunners in the first by inducing popups from Lewis and Evan White. He stranded two more in the second when Mitch Haniger hit a harmless fly ball, and sidestepped homers from Lewis and Kyle Seager along the way.
Lewis’ homer, a 429-foot shot to center field, was his first of the season. Seager smacked his fourth home run on an 0-2 changeup leading off the sixth.
Urquidy limited the Mariners to two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks over six innings.
–Field Level Media