France’s homer backs rookie Brash, Mariners beat Astros 7-2

Apr 17, 2022, 4:23 AM | Updated: 5:21 pm
Seattle Mariners' Ty France left, reacts with Julio Rodriguez, right, after France hit a three-run ...

Seattle Mariners' Ty France left, reacts with Julio Rodriguez, right, after France hit a three-run home run to score Rodriguez and Adam Frazier during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Ty France hit a three-run homer, rookie starter Matt Brash took an odd no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros 7-2 on Sunday for a rare series victory against their AL West rivals.

The Mariners won their third game in four days with the help of four double plays in the first four innings as they built a 6-0 lead behind Brash (1-1), who got his first career win.

The 23-year-old right-hander walked batters to lead off each of the first three innings and hit another. But the Mariners backed him with strong defense, including a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play in the first, and 6-4-3 turns started by J.P. Crawford in each of the next three.

“It’s one of the best feelings ever because you get a free out, especially in those situations with leadoff walks,” Brash said.

Asked if that was the most double plays he’d started in a game, Crawford said: “I can’t even tell you, boss. I don’t know. But I feel like today was a lot.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais and Astros manager Dusty Baker called Brash “effectively wild” due to his velocity in the 100 mph range and his movement.

“He had more balls than strikes for a while,” Baker said. “The double-play pitches that he was throwing, he got eight outs in four pitches.”

Brash, a fourth-round pick acquired via trade from the San Diego Padres, began the sixth with a strikeout of Chas McCormick. But Jose Altuve broke up the no-hit bid with a line-drive single and Michael Brantley followed with a two-run homer, his first of the season.

Brash’s day ended when he followed with a walk of Alex Bregman, his sixth of the game. He finished with five strikeouts and two hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“That’s a heck of a way to get your first win,” Servais said. “Certainly we saw what Matt Brash brings to the table for us. Just an electric arm.”

The Mariners broke open a 1-0 game in the fourth inning against José Urquidy (1-1) with a pair of lucky one-out bounces. Luis Torrens sent a single off Bregman’s glove at third base and Jarred Kelenic hit one off Yuli Gurriel’s glove at first. It rolled right to second baseman Altuve, whose throw was late.

After a popup, rookie Julio Rodríguez picked up his first career RBI with a single, scoring Torrens. Adam Frazier followed with an RBI single.

France then hit a three-run homer, just a few hours after Baker predicted the Mariners’ first baseman was about to begin a hot streak. France’s second homer of the season made it 6-0.

“Those balls were hit hard and then sort of the sky fell out,” Baker said.

That ended the outing for Urquidy, who pitched four innings, allowing eight hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Abraham Toro and Kelenic hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh for a 7-2 lead. Kelenic had two doubles.

Paul Sewell, Drew Steckenrider, Andrés Muñoz and Diego Castillo combined for 3 2/3 innings of two-hit relief. Seattle pitchers finished with 10 strikeouts, fanning all nine Houston batters at least once.

“We’ve got guys that can strike people out,” Servais said. “We did that last year. Our bullpen struck them out last year. We didn’t have so much of that in our starting rotation and that’s changed with … Robbie Ray, hopefully Logan Gilbert for a whole year and what Matt Brash brings. Those guys can wipe you out. Their stuff is so good.”

NOT SO FAST

Baker said he didn’t notice much difference when Justin Verlander and Martín Maldonado used PitchCom technology to communicate during Saturday’s game, though he had one complaint. The device, which transmits a signal from a wristband on the catcher’s arm to an earpiece worn by the pitcher, doesn’t give him enough time to evaluate baserunners.

“One thing that I did notice is that when I’m calling for a throw over, step off and stuff like that, that they get the sign so quickly that I kind of wish it wasn’t as quick because then that gives me time to see if a guy has a different lead or has shortened up his lead or, you know, is giving away signs that they’re going steal,” Baker said. “So that’s probably still a work in progress there.”

NEW PITCHER

Seattle assigned RHP Riley O’Brien to Triple-A Tacoma after acquiring him in a trade with Cincinnati on Saturday, Servais said. O’Brien was acquired from Cincinnati for a player to be named or cash. He made one start for the Reds last season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: 1B Taylor Jones’ back injury is not getting better as quickly as expected, Baker said. Jones went back to Houston early for re-evaluation by team doctors. He went on the 10-day injured list on April 7. … DH Yordan Alvarez (non-COVID illness) was scheduled to run Sunday for the first time since falling ill mid-week.

Mariners: Servais had no update on RF Mitch Haniger, who went on the COVID-19 IL on Saturday. Haniger will be out at least five days.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Luis Garcia (0-0, 0.00) makes his second start as Houston plays its home opener Monday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Mariners: Ray (1-1, 4.73) makes his third start on Tuesday against Texas. It will be the AL Cy Young Award winner’s home debut.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's WNBA ...
Associated Press

Griner’s Moscow trial resumes amid calls for US to seek deal

MOSCOW (AP) — Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her release nearly five months after she was arrested on drug charges. Griner was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after vape canisters with cannabis […]
1 day ago
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander delivers against the New York Mets during the firs...
Associated Press

LEADING OFF: Verlander, Gonsolin go for 11th; Cole at Fenway

A look at what’s happening around the majors today: ___ V IS FOR VICTORY Justin Verlander (10-3, 2.03 ERA) looks to become the first 11-game winner in the majors when Houston hosts the last-place Kansas City Royals in the afternoon finale of a four-game series. The 39-year-old ace, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, appears […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, right, scores the winning run on a single by Mookie Betts as C...
Associated Press

Dodgers beat Rockies 2-1 on Betts’ infield single in 9th

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cody Bellinger scored the winning run on Mookie Betts’ infield single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the Colorado Rockies 2-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep. Dodgers starter Mitch White and three relievers combined to allow only one hit — […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Joey Bart hits an RBI double against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fift...
Associated Press

Giants erase early deficit, rally to beat Diamondbacks 7-5

PHOENIX (AP) — Austin Slater hit a tiebreaking bases-loaded double in the ninth inning and the San Francisco Giants rallied from an early four-run deficit, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5 Wednesday night and snapping a six-game skid. The victory helped the Giants avoid a series sweep. The Diamondbacks, who were 2-17 against San Francisco last […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ionescu has triple-double, Liberty beat Aces 116-107

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu had 31 points in the highest-scoring triple-double in WNBA history and tied Candace Parker’s league record of three triple-doubles in the New York Liberty’s 116-107 victory over Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Ionescu also had 13 rebounds and 10 assists. She hit a career-high seven 3-pointers in eight tries […]
1 day ago
FILE - Sumo wrestler Takayuki Ichihara from Japan, left, fights against Keisho Shimoda from Japan, ...
Associated Press

Pandemic-delayed World Games open in Birmingham a year late

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Games open Thursday in Alabama featuring more than 3,600 athletes participating in non-Olympic events including sumo wrestling, gymnastics, pickleball, martial arts and tug of war. The opening ceremony, set for Thursday night at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, includes performances by Nelly […]
1 day ago
France’s homer backs rookie Brash, Mariners beat Astros 7-2