HOUSTON -- Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez produced a milestone and the Mariners' dormant offense bashed its way to functionality in a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
By striking out nine batters over six scoreless innings, Hernandez (2-2) notched his 100th career win. His changeup was devastating early, and once his teammates supplied him with an early lead, Hernandez wasted little time aggressively attacking the strike zone against Houston (5-14).
On the heels of scoring just three runs while being swept by the Texas Rangers last weekend, the Mariners (8-13) belted three home runs to provide Hernandez with some rare run support. Hernandez entered Monday with the second-lowest run support in the American League at 1.88 runs per start. Seattle had scored more than three runs in a victory once dating back to an 8-7 win over the Chicago White Sox on April 5.
Third baseman Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his one-out single off Astros' right-hander Brad Peacock in the top of the first inning, and Seager scored when Justin Smoak singled three batters later.
That rally was a modest display of what was to come. Seager crushed a two-run home run into the upper deck in right field two batters into the third for his second home run of the season. Catcher Jesus Montero added another two-run shot in the fourth, a 433-foot blast to left-center.
In the fifth, designated hitter Kendrys Morales drilled a 2-0 change-up several rows deep into the right-field stands.
Peacock surrendered a double to Smoak two batters later, his ninth and final base hit allowed.
By failing to work five complete innings, Peacock continued an ignominious streak for Houston starting pitchers. Excluding right-hander Lucas Harrell, who earned a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians last Friday night, the last six Astros' starters have combined for just 13 1/3 innings pitched. Such futility has yielded a disproportionate workload for the bullpen, which had a pair of pitchers summoned from Triple-A Oklahoma City for their big-league debuts Sunday and Monday night (southpaw Brett Olberholtzer and righty Jose Cisnero).
NOTES: Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez missed his second game this season after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch in the ninth inning Sunday. While X-rays were negative, Houston manager Bo Porter opted to give Dominguez a precautionary extra day of rest. Brandon Laird filled the void at third base. ... Mariners' center fielder Franklin Gutierrez hit leadoff Monday after starting just three of the past nine games. Gutierrez has been slowed by sore legs and was 4-for-15 with six strikeouts over his last four games. He exited in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring after failing to make a diving catch. ... Mariners' outfielder Michael Saunders played catch Monday and could return to action when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday. Saunders suffered a sprained right AC joint (shoulder) making a catch against the right-field wall April 9 against the Astros.