The Mariners did not get their first hit until the seventh inning Saturday, but it proved to be a big one, a two-out double by Michael Saunders that drove in two runs and lifted the Mariners to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. In one of the freakiest games in club history, the Mariners finished with one hit after former Mariner Eric Bedard threatened them for seven innings with a no-hitter.
Bedard, who pitched 46 games for Seattle from 2008-11 and has done little to distinguish himself since, did not allow a base runner until the fifth when Kendrys Morales walked, and did not permit a runner to reach scoring position until the sixth. Taking advantage of two walks by Bedard and two passed balls by Jason Castro, the Mariners pushed across two unearned runs to tie the game at 2-2.
Although he hadn’t allowed a hit, Bedard exited after 6.1 innings with 10 strikeouts. Pulled due to his pitch count (109), Bedard gave way to reliever Jose Cisnero, who gave up the blow to Saunders, bringing home Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino, who had walked.
The one-hit win extended Seattle’s winning streak to a season-high five games and gave the Mariners (45-52) a series victory. The Mariners have won 10 of 15 and are 18-15 over their past 33 contests.
But the franchise-record home run streak ended. Seattle knocked long balls in 23 consecutive games and were trying to join the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider) for the third-longest consecutive-homers streak in history. But the closest they came was Saunders’ game-winning double, which landed about 415 feet from home plate on the hill in centerfield.
Kyle Seager’s 15-game hitting streak also ended (0-for-4), but starter Hisashi Iwakuma delivered his second outstanding start in a row. After falling behind 2-0, Iwakuma continued to spot his pitches low and finished with two earned runs allowed in 7.0 innings. He fanned seven, walked two, lowered his ERA to 2.99 and improved to 9-4.
Tom Wilhelmsen, aided by a nice running catch in right by Saunders, worked a scoreless ninth for his 21st save in 26 chances.
The Astros broke through against Iwakuma in the fifth when Matt Dominguez singled to left and advanced to third on No. 9 hitter Jake Elmore’s double to left. Jose Atluve’s sacrifice fly, scoring Dominguez, made it 1-0. Castro then hit an infield single that scored Elmore for a 2-0 Houston lead.
The Mariners got on the board in the sixth when, after Bedard walked Saunders and Brad Miller and both advanced on a passed ball, Nick Franklin’s sacrifice fly brought home Saunders, cutting Houston’s lead to 2-1. Miller scored on another passed ball by Castro, tying it at 2-2. That set the stage for Saunders’ two-run double an inning later.
The Mariners close out the series with Houston Sunday in an 11:10 a.m. start. Felix Hernandez (10-4, 2.53) opposes RHP Jordan Lyles (4-3, 4.02). The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday for a three-game set with the Cleveland Indians, who will be followed by the Minnesota Twins.
NOTES: Brad Miller, who hit two homers Friday night, is the second Mariner this season to record a multi-homer game for the first homers of a career. Nick Franklin hit a pair May 30 at San Diego . . . Miller has two games with four RBIs, making him the first player in franchise history to do that in the first 17 games of a career . . . Kyle Seager, whose 15 game streak ended Saturday, also had a 16-game streak in April, making him the fourth player in club history with two hitting streaks of at least 15 games in the same season. Ichiro accomplished the feat five times (last in 2008), Adrian Beltre did it in 2006 and Joey Cora in 1998.