HOUSTON – After losing 13 decisions in a row with Toronto, Aaron Sanchez was looking for a fresh start and a way to turn things around in his move to the Houston Astros.
But even with their history of improving the performance of pitchers, it would have been hard to imagine his Houston debut would go this well Saturday night.
Sanchez looked like a reinvented pitcher, throwing six stellar innings to start the Astros on the path to a combined no-hitter in their 9-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“It’s hard to come to a team and feel like you can contribute right away when they’re already so good,” Sanchez said. “So for tonight to end the way it did, these guys coming in behind me and doing their part, too . . . I’m so happy.”
Sanchez was an All-Star in 2016 and led the American League in ERA, but he’d struggled badly this season and was leading the majors with 14 losses. However, three days after he was acquired from the Blue Jays at the trade deadline, the 27-year-old right-hander teamed with Will Harris, Joe Biagini and Chris Devenski to shut down Seattle.
“Just trying to have a good first impression,” said Sanchez, who was pulled by manager AJ Hinch after 92 pitches.
It was the second time in less than a month the last-place Mariners were no-hit by multiple pitchers. The Los Angeles Angels used two in a combined no-hitter July 12 against Seattle on a night when they honored late left-hander Tyler Skaggs by all wearing his No. 45 in their first home game since his death.
After six sparkling innings, Sanchez was replaced by Harris to start the seventh in a move Hinch called a “no-brainer.”
“I get the dilemma and obviously it kind of hits you in the stomach a little bit, but my responsibility is to take care of him, take care of our team, take care of our pursuit to win the division,” Hinch explained.
Twins 11, Royals 3
In Minneapolis, Nelson Cruz hit three home runs in a game for the second time in 10 days, powering the Twins to the victory.
A day after he homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs, Cruz again had five RBIs.
Indians 7, Angels 2
In Cleveland, Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis homered during the Indians’ five-run fifth inning.
Carlos Santana added a solo shot in the eighth, helping Cleveland to its third win in four games. Adam Plutko (4-2) allowed one run in 5⅓ innings.
Shohei Ohtani was 2-for-4 for Los Angeles in the loss.
Dodgers 4, Padres 1
In Los Angeles, Walker Buehler struck out 15 in his second career complete game, leading the Dodgers to the victory.
Buehler (10-2) reached double digits in strikeouts for the fourth time this season, all since June 3. The 15 strikeouts were his most since he had 16 in a complete-game victory over Colorado on June 21.
In Other Games
Braves 5, Reds 4 (10)
Mets 7, Pirates 5
Cubs 4, Brewers 1
Diamondbacks 18, Nationals 7
Giants 6, Rockies 5
Rays 8, Marlins 6
Athletics 8, Cardinals 3
Phillies 3, White Sox 2
Yankees 9, Red Sox 2 (1st)
Yankees 6, Red Sox 4 (2nd)
Rangers 5, Tigers 4 (10)
Orioles 6, Blue Jays 4