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Seattle at Houston

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Seattle (45-38) «02030030210110
Houston (36-48)210000001460

Taijuan Walker wins season debut, Mariners mash Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Seattle's Taijuan Walker had a shaky first couple of innings, giving up a pair of home runs to the Astros in his season debut Monday night.

Fortunately for the 21-year-old right-hander, the Mariners had soon collected double that number of home runs and Walker settled down to help Seattle to a 10-4 victory.

Robinson Cano's three-run shot in the seventh inning highlighted a night with a season-high four home runs for the Mariners.

Mike Zunino had a two-run drive in the second, Michael Saunders added a pair on his long ball in the fourth and Brad Miller hit a home run two batters later to help the Mariners to their eighth victory in 10 games.

Walker (1-0), a heralded prospect, allowed home runs to George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez before striking out six in six innings in his return from a shoulder injury.

"I thought he threw pretty darn good," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Command was a little shaky to start with, but I thought he settled down and threw some decent breaking balls, some decent changeups. Starting to find a rhythm a little bit. Did OK."

Walker said he tried not to get down on himself, but he knew that he could do a better job than he was doing early.

"I'm not swearing at myself, but I'm talking to myself: 'C'mon Taijuan. Just keep the ball down and get ahead in the count,' " he said. "[Monday] my fastball command wasn't there, so I relied on my changeup. That got me through it."

Rookie James Jones had a career-high four hits and his second three-steal game. He's the second player in franchise history and first since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 to have at least four hits and three steals in a game.

Houston starter Collin McHugh (4-7) allowed five hits, five runs and tied a career high with three home runs in six innings.

"From the beginning of the game, he just really had trouble locating his fastball," manager Bo Porter said. "When you fall behind and get into predictable fastball counts, he ran into some guys that put good swings on it."

Walker has started four major league games and three have come against the Astros. He picked up his second win on Monday night and the first since he also beat the Astros in his major league debut on Aug. 30.

Houston's Jose Altuve went 0 for 3, but extended his franchise record by stealing a base in his seventh straight game. He leads the American League with 37 this season and his seven-game steal streak is the most in the majors since Chone Figgins did it in 2010.

He was plunked on the left elbow in the fifth inning, but appeared to be OK.

Alex Presley singled with one out in the first before Springer's towering shot, which bounced off the glass above the left field wall, gave Houston a 2-0 lead. It was the first career homer allowed by Walker and traveled an estimated at 445 feet, which is the longest ever hit to left field by an Astro.

Walker wasn't sure if that was the longest home run he'd allowed.

"I've given up a few that were pretty far," he said. "I didn't watch it. It was high enough. I didn't want to turn around."

Springer leads the Astros with 16 homers this season, which is a franchise record for a rookie before the All-Star break.

Logan Morrison drew a walk to start the second before Zunino's home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field tied it at 2.

Gonzalez put Houston back on top in the bottom of the inning with his two-out homer, which crashed off the foul pole in right field.

Zunino struck out with one out in the fourth inning, but reached first on a wild pitch. Saunders gave Seattle a 4-3 lead with his home run to the second deck in right field.

McHugh struck out Dustin Ackley before Miller's fifth home run this month pushed the lead to 5-3.

The Mariners got consecutive singles by Endy Chavez and Jones in the seventh before Cano's home run off Josh Zeid sailed into the Crawford Boxes to make it 8-3.

Notes

Houston optioned SS Jonathan Villar to Triple-A Oklahoma City and designated RHP Jerome Williams for assignment after the game. Williams had a 6.04 ERA in 26 games this season. ... Walker is the third pitcher since 2004 to face the same team three times within four starts, joining Wade LeBlanc and Justin Germano. ... The series continues Tuesday when Houston's Jarred Cosart opposes Hisashi Iwakuma.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker makes his first start of the season and comes away with his first win of the season. (USATSI)
Mariners prospect Taijuan Walker makes his first start of the season and comes away with his first win of the season. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Seattle

R. Cano
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Houston

G. Springer
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Endy Chavez, DH4110100 .264
James Jones, CF5240001 .289
Robinson Cano, 2B5223012 .320
Kyle Seager, 3B4000133 .274
Logan Morrison, 1B3111200 .235
Mike Zunino, C5213022 .225
Michael Saunders, RF4112112 .265
Dustin Ackley, LF4000030 .214
Brad Miller, SS4111000 .208
Taijuan Walker, P0000000 .000
   Tom Wilhelmsen, P0000000 .000
Totals38101110510  
Batting
HR - Robinson Cano (6, Zeid), Mike Zunino (12, McHugh), Michael Saunders (5, McHugh), Brad Miller (8, McHugh)
RBI - Robinson Cano 3 (48), Logan Morrison (11), Mike Zunino 3 (31), Michael Saunders 2 (25), Brad Miller (23)
2-OUT RBI - Brad Miller (8)
SB - James Jones 3 (17, 2nd base off McHugh/Castro)
CS - Michael Saunders (4, 2nd base by McHugh/Castro)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Seager-Cano-Morrison, Seager-Cano-Morrison-Walker-Cano-Morrison
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Taijuan Walker (W,1-0) 6533262 4.50
Tom Wilhelmsen (S,1) 3111200 2.60
HBP - Altuve (by Taijuan Walker)
Pitches-Strikes - Taijuan Walker 94-58, Tom Wilhelmsen 36-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taijuan Walker 8-2, Tom Wilhelmsen 8-1
Batters Faced - Taijuan Walker 24, Tom Wilhelmsen 12
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B3000000 .344
Alex Presley, CF4120011 .246
George Springer, RF3112122 .245
Jon Singleton, 1B2000202 .198
Matt Dominguez, 3B4010002 .237
Jason Castro, C3100111 .215
Jesus Guzman, DH4010011 .214
Marwin Gonzalez, SS4112001 .265
L.J. Hoes, LF4000011 .190
Collin McHugh, P0000000 .000
   Josh Zeid, P0000000 .000
   Jerome Williams, P0000000 .000
Totals3146446  
Batting
2B - Jesus Guzman (4, Wilhelmsen)
HR - George Springer (16, Walker), Marwin Gonzalez (3, Walker)
RBI - George Springer 2 (43), Marwin Gonzalez 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Marwin Gonzalez (4)
SB - Jose Altuve (37, 2nd base off Walker/Zunino), George Springer (3, 2nd base off Wilhelmsen/Zunino)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Collin McHugh (L,4-7) 6555483 3.22
Josh Zeid 1333001 5.40
Jerome Williams 2322120 6.04
IBB - Morrison by Collin McHugh
WP - Collin McHugh (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Collin McHugh 110-65, Josh Zeid 22-15, Jerome Williams 36-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Collin McHugh 4-6, Josh Zeid 1-2, Jerome Williams 3-1
Batters Faced - Collin McHugh 27, Josh Zeid 6, Jerome Williams 10
Game Information
Attendance - 17340
Game Time - 3:07
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Clint Fagan, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Todd Tichenor