MLB

Astros-Mariners Preview

Houston's offense has underwhelmed at Minute Maid Park, but has looked right at home while on the road.

The Astros look to put together another impressive offense performance at Safeco Field in Wednesday night's series finale against the Seattle Mariners.

Houston is 4-5 at home, averaging 2.3 runs and batting a big league-worst .174 in its own park. The Astros have averaged 5.2 runs and hit .262 in going 4-1 on the road.

A big source of Houston's road offense has been the long ball, with players hitting nine homers in the first four road contests. The club failed to go deep for the first time in six games overall Tuesday, and instead had to rely on clutch hitting, though it entered ranking last in baseball with a .160 batting average with runners in scoring position.

The Astros (8-6) had a season-high four hits in those situations, highlighted by Jose Altuve's bases-clearing double in a five-run eighth inning of a 6-3 victory, the team's fourth straight win. Altuve was hitless in the opener following a nine-game hitting streak and 0 for his first 4 Tuesday.

"We needed only one run in that situation and fortunately I got the hit but I think the guys in front of me did it all," Altuve said.

No. 9 hitter Jake Marisnick has been a big part of the offense's road success, going 2 for 2 Tuesday and 9 for 16 with five RBIs in five road games. Houston's No. 9 hitters rank second in baseball batting .318.

The Astros can already match their second-longest winning streak of 2014 with a victory Wednesday. They won five in a row Aug. 30-Sept. 5, and their season high was seven straight May 24-30.

Nelson Cruz finally cooled off for Seattle (5-9), going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to end a nine-game hitting streak, during which he had eight homers and 16 RBIs.

Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to eight games but misplayed a grounder to begin Houston's eighth-inning rally.

Left-hander J.A. Happ (0-1, 2.70 ERA) takes aim at becoming the first Mariners starter besides Felix Hernandez to record a victory. Happ's ERA trails only Hernandez among Seattle's starters, as he has given up four runs over 13 1-3 innings in two outings.

Seattle's offense hasn't showed up behind him, though, backing him with one run of support.

An Astro from 2011-12, Happ is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three career starts against Houston.

Houston had been hitting .189 against left-handers before going 2 for 3 against reliever Charlie Furbush on Tuesday.

Roberto Hernandez (0-1, 3.38) is 0-3 in his last five starts versus Seattle despite a 3.21 ERA in that span, though he hasn't faced the Mariners since a 5-1 loss with Cleveland on Aug. 21, 2012.

He allowed three runs and three hits over six innings in Houston's 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday after failing to record a quality start in his previous six outings.

"We'll take outings like that from Roberto," manager A.J. Hinch said.

Cano is 11 for 26 off Hernandez while Cruz has homered three times in 18 at-bats against him.

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