Another weak outing from starter Hisashi Iwakuma cost the Mariners the game and the series to the Houston Astros Wednesday at Safeco, the 5-2 defeat making for 2-1 series loss. The Astros won six of 10 games at Safeco in the concluded season series.
In the race for the American League’s second wild card berth, the Mariners (79-66) lost no ground to Detroit (80-66), which fell 3-0 to Central Division leader Kansas City (80-64). Nor did they slip against the holder of the first wild card spot, Oakland (81-64), which lost in Chicago 2-1 to the White Sox, its 10th loss in the past 13 games.
The Athletics, who play in Chicago Thursday while the Mariners are off, come to Safeco for three games starting Friday.
Lasting 4.1 innings, Iwakuma had control problems. He gave up four runs on six hits and two walks. He has given up 15 runs in his past four starts over 18 innings, well off his pace of earlier in the season.
Meanwhile the Mariners offense was stuffed by Nick Tropeano, who won his major league debut. He pitched five innings and gave up four hits, the only damaging one a two-out double by Mike Zunino in the second that scored all the Seattle runs.
In losing three of the past four, the Mariners have scored seven runs. They went down in order from the third through the eighth innings, thanks in part to three double plays.
Manager Lloyd McClendon did not hide his displeasure.
“I managed bad, they played bad,” he said. “Very disappointing. This was first game we had like this this year. We swung at a lot of bad pitches.”
Asked about the ability to bounce back, he said, “I sure as hell hope so. We only got two weeks left.”
The game drew 16,931 for a three-game total of 43,893.