|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, June 30, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 32,485
Astros look for sweep, more offense vs. Mariners
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When things were going horribly for the Astros, with their seven-game losing skid last week cutting into their sizable lead in the American League West, their offense was the primary concern.
The Astros averaged just 2.7 runs during their skid and followed that stretch of futility by totaling just two runs over the final two games of their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, absorbing 14-2 and 10-0 losses that resulted in their first home series setback this season.
After a 2-1 win on Friday against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park, Houston flashed its offensive talent in Saturday's 6-5 win.
Most notably, the Astros secured the three-game series by stringing together two walks and three hits in their five-run second inning, the sort of unyielding pressure on opposing pitchers that underscored their prior standing as one of the most feared offenses in baseball.
With the finale against the Mariners set for Sunday, Houston is hoping it has reclaimed that consistency as it concludes a six-game homestand.
"Baseball can lead you to believe that the last thing you saw is what a team is," Astros manager AJ Hinch told reporters. "When you're super hot, everybody jumps on board with the best offense in the league and all the superlatives that come with a productive offense. When you go cold, the blame is shared equally around situational hitting or hitting with two outs or two strikes.
"And with the ebbs and flow of the season, at the end of the year, you'll be defined as what you are."
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (7-5, 3.42 ERA) will get the start as the Astros seek the series sweep. He is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA over five starts in June but his strikeout rate has slowed with 39 in 31 innings this month.
Cole is 3-2 with a 2.41 ERA over six career starts against the Mariners, including a 3-2 victory on April 14 that featured Cole recording 11 strikeouts while allowing two runs on four hits over six innings at T-Mobile Park. Cole did not issue a walk in that outing.
Left-hander Marco Gonzales (9-6, 4.34 ERA) will start for Seattle. It will mark his fifth career appearance (fourth start) against the Astros, against whom he is 0-2 with an 8.36 ERA. Gonzales is 4-0 with a 2.59 ERA in four starts since June 7. He was 0-6 with a 7.79 ERA over seven starts after opening the season 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA over his first seven starts.
The Astros' 6-5, walk-off win Saturday not only clinched the weekend series against Seattle, it marked yet another stinging defeat for the Mariners against Houston. Not only have the Astros opened this series with back-to-back walk-off wins, with both hits supplied by Yuli Gurriel, Houston owns two other one-run wins as well as a pair of two-run victories in the season series.
Despite having won 8 of 9 games against Seattle this season, the Astros hold just a plus-5 advantage in run differential heading into the finale of the third series between the teams.
"We've played some tough games against the Astros this year," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "It seems every game is one or two runs. It's a swing here or there. Pitch here or there that could turn the game. I thought we competed our tail off."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 30, 2019