Houston (CBS HOUSTON) — The Astros may be finding their groove since the calendar turned to May.
Now if they can just solve Robinson Cano.
Houston overcame yet another Cano big swing, salvaging a split of this four-game series against the AL West leading Mariners with a 5-1 win on Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park.
Collin McHugh was spectacular on Mother’s Day, delivering his best start since a shutout in the home opener last month. McHugh limited Seattle to a lone run in seven innings and kept the dramatics at bay one day after a wild game that featured two ejections, a game-tying home run and Cano’s ultimate game-winner in 10 innings.
That game seemed to deflate Houston in the moments following the final out, but Houston responded early on Sunday and now has posted consecutive non-losing series for the first time in 2016.
Tyler White plated Houston’s first run by smoking a ground-rule double in the second inning. He added another two-bagger a couple innings later and finished with his second straight multi-hit effort after not recording even one since April 11.
White’s first double drove home Marwin Gonzalez, who got his third start in a row and made the most of it with a 2-for-4 day.
Jose Altuve returned from a sore left index finger that held him out of Saturday’s starting lineup, and he picked up right where he left off so far this season. Altuve went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, tied a career high with three steals and scored a pair of runs.
Per Baseball-Reference, he still leads all position players in WAR this season and is hitting a scorching .325.
But he might not have even been the best player in the stadium this weekend. For all the good Houston did in splitting with the division-leading Mariners, the Astros couldn’t get Cano out.
The second baseman recorded game-winning hits on Thursday and Saturday — when he hit a pair of solo home runs — and he was back at it on Sunday. Cano yanked McHugh’s only mistake of the day into the left-field corner in the fourth inning for Seattle’s lone run.
Cano has five home runs and 17 RBI in seven games against Houston this season, good for nearly half of his 2016 homer total and more than half of his RBI tally.
It wasn’t enough Sunday, as Houston capitalized on its scoring chances and prevented further freefall in the division chase. The Astros wrap up a 10-game homestand with a three-game set against Cleveland, starting Monday night against Indians ace Corey Kluber.