Astros-Mariners Preview

Robinson Cano hopes he's snapped out of his slump. Hisashi Iwakuma could use another career night at the plate from his second baseman.

Cano looks to build on his best offensive showing of the season and help Iwakuma pick up his first win Wednesday night when the Seattle Mariners try to sweep this three-game series with the Houston Astros.

Cano leads the AL with 21 RBIs after he matched a career high with six in Tuesday's 11-1 win. The six-time All-Star connected for his 10th career grand slam following a two-run single as the Mariners (11-9) pounded out 13 hits.

Cano's performance gave him 1,004 career RBIs.

"Those are the memories that you can share with your kids," Cano said.

He's 3 for 7 in this series after batting .192 with two homers and seven RBIs over the previous 13 games.

Cano has routinely pounded the Astros (6-15) to the tune of a .349 average in 51 games. He's hitting .405 with 13 RBIs in his last 11 matchups.

Iwakuma (0-2, 3.81 ERA) would surely appreciate some production from Cano and the rest of the lineup after the right-hander received eight runs of support in his first four starts.

The offense let him down again in Friday's 5-2, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Angels. He allowed two runs over eight innings after having his scheduled start pushed up a day due to an illness to ace Felix Hernandez.

"That says a lot about him and what he thinks about our team to take the ball like that and not look back," first-year manager Scott Servais told MLB's official website.

Iwakuma is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA over his last three home starts against the Astros, who own the worst record in the AL after reaching the division series last fall.

Collin McHugh (1-3, 7.56) takes the ball, and he's had major problems in three of his four starts. His only win came after he pitched seven scoreless innings to beat Kansas City 8-2 on April 11.

The right-hander, a 19-game winner last year, has surrendered 15 runs in 9 2/3 innings over the other three outings, including a 6-2 loss to Boston on Friday in which he gave up five runs and 10 hits in four innings.

Perhaps a visit to Seattle can help. McHugh has won all three of his starts there behind a 1.66 ERA.

He struggled with Cano last year, allowing him to go 3 for 8 with a double. Nelson Cruz also went 3 for 8 in their 2015 matchups and homered twice.

Houston's Jose Altuve was 7 for 16 with four doubles over his previous three games before going 0 for 2 with two walks Tuesday. The All-Star second baseman is 4 for 26 over his past six meetings with the Mariners, but he's 10 for 27 when facing Iwakuma.


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