Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Four home runs and a historically bad start from Felix Hernandez got the Houston Astros back in the win column with a 10-0 trouncing of the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park.
After mustering a mere 16 runs during a seven-game losing streak they brought into the opener of this three-game series, the Astros put up half that total against an ineffective Hernandez in the first inning.
Hernandez (9-3) registered just a single out in matching the shortest start of his career. The former AL Cy Young Award winner was torched for five hits, including homers by Luis Valbuena and Jason Castro, and walked two.
While Hernandez was completely off his game, Brett Oberholtzer (1-2) turned in a superb performance for Houston. The left-hander yielded just three singles and a pair of walks over eight scoreless innings to help the Astros improve to 7-1 against Seattle this season.
Valbuena belted a three-run shot and Castro had a two-run blast off Hernandez. Carlos Correa added a solo homer in the prized prospect's first home game as an Astro, with Chris Carter delivering one of his own in a 2-for-3 night at the plate.
The Astros wasted no time breaking out of their offensive funk, as eight of the nine hitters to face Hernandez reached base during the first-inning barrage.
Hernandez walked Preston Tucker after Jose Altuve beat out an infield grounder, and George Springer followed with a double to right to begin the scoring. Evan Gattis then hit a chopper in which Hernandez snared off the mound, but his throw home skipped past Mike Zunino to allow both Tucker and Springer to cross for a quick 3-0 lead.
After another walk by Hernandez put two aboard, Valbuena deposited a changeup into the seats in right center to increase the margin to 6-0. Castro reached the seats two batters later, trailing a Carter single, to put an end to the Seattle ace's uncharacteristically poor night.
Correa got into the power act an inning afterward, with the star prospect launching a pitch from Joe Beimel into the home bullpen for a 9-0 advantage. Carter accounted for the Astros' fourth homer when he connected off Charlie Furbush in the fifth.
While Houston's bats came alive, Seattle's slumping offense couldn't do a thing against Oberholtzer. The 25-year-old set down 13 of the first 15 batters before Logan Morrison singled and was promptly erased on a double play in the top of the fifth.
The Mariners' biggest threat came when a leadoff walk and Robinson Cano's two- out single put runners at the corners in the sixth. Oberholtzer retired Nelson Cruz on a grounder, however, then permitted just a walk over his final two innings.
Houston's only negative of the night occurred when Altuve limped to first while grounding out in his second at-bat in the opening inning. The reigning AL batting champ injured his right hamstring and was replaced in the field to begin the second.
Hernandez's only other one-third of an inning stint came against Minnesota on April 18, 2007 ... The eight runs were the most by the Astros in an inning since they also put up eight against San Francisco on Aug. 12, 2008 ... The Mariners have now scored three runs or less 15 times in their last 16 games, the first team to do so since the 2004 Montreal Expos ... Oberholtzer has won all three of his career starts against Seattle, including a four-hit shutout in Houston in September of 2013 ... Morrison has hit safely in each of his 17 career games at Minute Maid Park ... The loss was the Mariners' seventh straight in Houston ... Cruz returned to the Seattle lineup after sitting out the previous two games with back spasms.