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Astros 10, Mariners 3

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Houston right-hander Lucas Harrell pitched briskly and effectively, and the Astros' makeshift lineup proved productive in a 10-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park

With center fielder Justin Maxwell sidelined by a broken left hand and Jason Castro, Marwin Gonzalez and Rick Ankiel sitting out against Seattle left-hander Joe Saunders (1-3), the Astros (7-14) received contributions for reserves Ronny Cedeno and Brandon Barnes as well as newcomer Robbie Grossman, who made his major-league debut spelling Maxwell.

Cedeno continued his torrid hitting against southpaws, finishing 3 for 3 with a double and a two-run homer against Saunders. Cedeno is batting .529 with three extra-base hits against left-handers this season.

Barnes finished 2 for 4 from the 9-hole while Grossman bumped Jose Altuve from the leadoff spot and had two hits, both doubles. He became just the second Astros player with at least two doubles in his debut, joining outfielder James Mouton (April 4, 1994).

Brandon Laird (3 for 4, four RBI) and Chris Carter also hit home runs for the Astros. Carter tied Ankiel for the team lead with his fifth.

Harrell (2-2) scuffled a bit in his first two innings, needing 46 pitches while stranding three base runners without giving up a run. But he recovered to face the minimum during his next three innings and, after surrendering a run on Kendrys Morales' double-play grounder in the sixth, Harrell retired the final four batters he faced.

Harrell turned a 10-1 lead over to the bullpen after working seven innings, allowing one run, six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Saunders wasn't as effective, surrendering two of the Astros' three homers. And the Mariners' offense, seemingly engaged after supplying Felix Hernandez with ample run support in the series opener, was absent for second consecutive game.

After producing just two extra-base hits on Tuesday night, Seattle (8-15) came up with its first in the ninth when first baseman Justin Smoak hit his first homer this season.

NOTES: Mariners center fielder Michael Saunders played catch and took batting practice again Wednesday and appears set to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. Saunders (sprained AC joint, right shoulder) is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday. ... The Mariners are scheduled to face three left-handers in their next five games. The Mariners are averaging 4.8 runs per game against left-handers as opposed to 2.71 runs per game against right-handed starters. The Astros have hit 25 home runs in 21 games. Last season, they hit just 14 in April (23 games). ... By taking two of three from Seattle, the Astros won their first home series this season.
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