Houston's ace notched 20 wins in 2015 and won the American League Cy Young Award, but struggled last year and finished with a losing record.
Monday evening, he kept the division rival Seattle Mariners off balance all night, spreading two hits over seven innings en route to a 3-0 win — a welcome sight to the rebuilt Astros, who hope for a deep playoff run after missing the postseason last year. Relievers Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson finished off the Mariners, who managed just three hits.
The offense looked good, too. George Springer hit a home run on the Astros' first at-bat of the game. Carlos Correa followed three innings later with a Mantle-esque blast onto Crawford Street — a rare sight, since the Astros seldom open the roof of Minute Maid Park. Reigning A.L. batting champ Jose Altuve and three other players chipped in hits.
The Astros play at Minute Maid Park every day through April 9, against the Mariners and Royals.