Altuve helps Astros beat Mariners 5-2 after COVID-19 bout

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 26: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros fields a ground ball during the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on April 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 26: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros fields a ground ball during the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on April 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Jose Altuve had three hits and two RBIs in his return after testing positive for COVID-19, leading the Houston Astros to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

“It looked like he had never left," Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “Life sure is a lot better with Altuve back, period — in the lineup and the clubhouse."

Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel both had three hits and drove in a run as the Astros won for the fourth time in five games after losing their previous three.

José Urquidy (1-2) yielded five hits and two runs in six innings for his first win of the season. Ryan Pressly allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his second save.

The Mariners got solo homers from Kyle Lewis and Kyle Seager but went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position as they lost their second straight game. They won two of three in Seattle earlier this month when the Astros were without five players, including Altuve, Alvarez and Alex Bregman, because of health and safety protocols.

Seattle starter Justus Sheffield (1-2) allowed a career-high 12 hits with five runs — four earned — in 5 1/3 innings.

“You’re not going to have all three of your plus pitches every time," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “There were a couple of sliders that just didn’t have that finish to it, that bite. Not quite as sharp as he has been in the past."

Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP, was among five Astros who were placed on the COVID-19 list on April 14. The other four returned within days, but Altuve missed 10 games before being activated on Monday. He cleared health and safety protocols Friday and revealed Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but did not have any symptoms.