The Mariners couldn’t pull off the series sweep, falling 7-4 to the Astros Wednesday night when Houston’s Jose Altuve had three hits, a solo home run and scored three runs. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Seattle (11-10). Since opening the season with a 3-6 record, the Mariners have four consecutive series wins.
The Mariners looked like they might get back in the game in the fifth when LF Seth Smith sent a towering fly ball toward the seats in left. Trailing 5-2 with a runner on first, Seattle appeared to have pulled within a run on the two-run homer. But Smith’s rocket shot was ruled to have gone just right of the foul pole. Manager Scott Servais asked for a replay challenge. That didn’t go the Mariners’ way on a night when few things did.
Hisashi Iwakuma couldn’t have started on a worse note, a leadoff homer to Altuve in the first. Altuve was a thorn all night. Iwakuma struggled to get through five innings, allowing seven hits and five runs. LHP Mike Montgomery did his job, but Mayckol Guaipe had a rough season debut. Guaipe, called up earlier in the week to replace injured veteran Joaquin Benoit, might not be long for the bullpen. Relievers Vidal Nuno and Nick Vincent retired all seven batters they faced, five by strikeout.
2B Robinson Cano continues to drive in runs. His solo homer was his eighth and tied the score 1-1 in first. But Seattle was unable to generate much offense after that. DH Adam Lind hit his first home run of the season – and his first off a left-handed pitcher since 2013 – but it wasn’t enough to offset the Astros’ big night. Cano drove in three of Seattle’s four runs, giving him a team-high 18 RBIs.
“I thought we had a good series. We continued to grind out at-bats. We just didn’t hold it down tonight.” – Servais
Saturday night’s game against Kansas City, originally scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m., has been moved back an hour and will begin at 7:10 p.m. . . . The Mariners gave leadoff hitter Nori Aoki the night off, leaving SS Ketel Marte atop the order. Marte had three hits and a stolen base in the loss . . . Cano’s eight HRs is his highest April total since 2011. . . Lind, a left-handed bat who was signed to face right-handed pitching, is hitting .224 against right-handers and .444 (4 for 9) against lefties.
The Mariners are off Thursday before firing up the King’s Court Friday night against the world champion Royals. RHP Felix Hernandez (1-2, 1.80 ERA) will face Kansas City RHP Kris Medlen (1-1, 6.00 ERA). Be prepared for traffic delays, as the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the awakening of Royal Nation could make for an interesting foray.