HOUSTON (AP) — Dusty Baker posted a win in his debut as Houston’s manager and the Astros, playing for the first time since their sign-stealing scandal rocked baseball, opened the season by beating the Seattle Mariners 8-2.
Hoping to put a turbulent offseason behind them, the Astros started out with a victory at empty Minute Maid Park, the same place that was pulsating last October when they lost Game 7 of the World Series to Washington.
Astros starter Justin Verlander struck out seven, but gave up two home runs, a mammoth shot by Kyle Lewis in the second, and career homer 199 to Kyle Seager in the fifth.
Marco Gonzales started for the Mariners going four-and-a-third innings, giving up five runs, four earned and striking out two. Michael Brantley broke the game open with a three-run homer off Zac Grotz in the Astros' five-run fifth inning.
The 71-year-old Baker took over after manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired after being suspended for a year for their roles in the cheating during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in 2018.