Astros light up Mariners rookie Brandon Maurer

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Finally getting to take out some frustration, the Astros racked up six runs and seven hits in the first Tuesday against Mariners starter Brandon Maurer, sending him to the showers after 36 pitches.

It was a second straight rough outing for Maurer, who climbed over several pitchers this spring to win a spot in the Mariners rotation. He gave up six runs over six innings in a loss to Oakland in his major league debut last week.

While the Mariners probably won’t bail on Maurer after two starts, he’s going to have to be better next time to keep his spot. If he fails again, the Mariners could give Jeremy Bonderman a shot. Bonderman, who is trying to return to the majors after two years off, allowed three runs in five innings in his first start for Triple-A Tacoma.

Ideally, the Mariners would have Erasmo Ramirez available to fill in, but he’s on the minor league DL after coming down with some elbow soreness late in the spring. They do have top prospect Danny Hultzen available if they don’t want to turn to Bonderman. Hultzen has battled control problems since being drafted second overall two years ago, but he had a nice season debut for Tacoma, allowing one run in six innings and striking out eight.

As for the Astros, their six runs in the first tonight matched their total from the previous three games combined. They had been shut out in three of their first seven games.

Chris Archer exits Monday’s start after four innings due to leg discomfort

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Pirates starter Chris Archer pitched only four innings on Monday against the Braves due to leg discomfort, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Archer’s removal from the game was precautionary. He yielded one run on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts on 76 pitches.

Archer, 29, hasn’t pitched deep in any of his four starts since being traded from the Rays to the Pirates. He went 4 1/3 innings in his Buccos debut, then pitched five innings in his next two starts prior to tonight.

The Pirates gave up Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz to acquire Archer from the Rays on July 31. In his four starts as a Pirate, the right-hander has a 4.91 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings.

An update on Archer’s status should be passed along after Monday’s game or on Tuesday.