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Houston offense busts out in Seattle

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE -- After a week's worth of frustration, the Houston Astros were long overdue for some hits Tuesday night.

They got more than enough of them -- 22, to be exact -- to end a six-game slide.

"It was only a matter of time," first-year manager Bo Porter said after the young Astros erupted for five home runs in a 16-9 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. "We've had confidence the whole time that they could hit."

Not until Tuesday did the Astros finally show it. By the second inning, Houston (2-6) had as many runs -- nine -- as it scored during the entirety of its six-game losing streak. After Marwin Gonzalez led off the third inning with a solo home run, the team's third long ball of the night, the Astros had already exceeded their previous season total of homers.

Houston ended up piling up the franchise's most hits in a game since August 2010, falling three shy of the team record.

"It was nice to see," said Houston starting pitcher Erik Bedard, who allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings. "Everybody has confidence, and we'll just build on that."

Mariners rookie starter Brandon Maurer didn't make it out of the first inning, surrendering six runs and seven hits while facing 10 Houston batters. Kameron Loe came on and registered the third out.

Maurer (0-2) took a line drive off his right leg along the way but stayed in the game before getting the hook with runners on second and third base.

"I think I'm going to just kind of just let this one go," Maurer said, "move on from this one and go out and get the next one."

Loe didn't fare a whole lot better, giving up three homers and five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Houston's Chris Carter hit two home runs in a game for the first time in his career, while Astros leadoff hitter Jose Altuve went 4-for-6 with a double, a home run and four RBIs. Gonzalez and J.D. Martinez each hit his first home run of the season for the Astros.

Bedard, who was making his first appearance at Safeco Field since spending three injury-plagued seasons as a Mariner through 2011, retired the first 10 batters he faced but did not factor in the decision because he was pulled after four innings. He threw 66 pitches in his first start of the season.

Porter said Bedard was on a pre-determined pitch count of 65 pitches, and the left-hander was fine with not getting the decision.

"I'd rather be healthy the whole year than just one outing," Bedard said. "I threw (66), and that's what it was."

Reliever Paul Clemens, who was making his major league debut, got the win despite a rocky performance. He gave up three home runs and five runs in four innings.

Seattle (4-5) went through four relievers, and all of them gave up runs.

The Mariners' offense didn't wake up until the Astros' lead was well out of reach. Jason Bay hit a solo home run in the seventh, then pinch hitter Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse went back-to-back off Clemens in the eighth. Seven of Seattle's runs came over the final three innings.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge was ready to move on afterward, saying: "These are days you just forget."

NOTES: The Astros' lineup included Nos. 3-4-5 hitters who all began the night hitting below .175 on the season. That trio -- Jason Castro, Carter and Carlos Pena -- combined for eight hits and five RBIs. ... Through four innings, the Astros had 14 hits to raise their team season batting average 35 points -- from .201 to .236 -- in a span of 90 minutes. ... Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was out of the lineup for the first time this season, leaving left fielder Michael Morse as the only Seattle player to have started each of the first nine games. ... Martinez was back in the lineup Tuesday, one day after Porter benched him in the fifth inning of a 3-0 loss to the Mariners. Martinez responded with two hits and three RBIs in Tuesday's blowout win.
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