Collin McHugh shut down the Mariners for the second time in 10 days, Jose Altuve had two hits, stole three bases and scored twice, and the Houston Astros ended Seattle’s seven-game road trip on a downer, winning 5-1 at Minute Maid Park (box) Sunday. The defeat, coupled with Texas’ 8-3 win at Detroit, sliced the Mariners’ lead in the AL West to a half game.
The Astros, who stole five bases, put up three runs on Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma in the second and third innings and tacked on two more in the seventh, preventing the Mariners (18-13) from winning their seventh consecutive series. Seattle split the four-game set.
After reaching on an infield single in the third, Altuve stole second and third and scored on a bunt single by cleanup hitter Colby Rasmus on a two-strike count. Carlos Correa, who walked, came home on a Marwin Gonzalez single to shallow left. That gave Houston a 3-0 lead, more than enough on a day when the Mariners collected only five hits, four of them singles.
Robinson Cano hit his 12th home run of the season in the fourth inning. The RBI was Cano’s 33rd, second-most in franchise history by a player through the first 31 games of a season. In 1997, Ken Griffey Jr., en route to the MVP award, had 35 RBIs after 31 games. Cano’s home run was Seattle’s only extra-base hit. Cano has five homers and 17 RBIs against the Astros this season. He leads the American League in homers and his 33 RBIs lead the majors . . . Kyle Seager went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to nine games, but saw his streak of five consecutive multi-hit games snapped . . . The Mariners manufactured almost no scoring chances against McHugh, as evidenced by their 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position.
Iwakuma (1-4, 4.19) allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings with a season-high eight strikeouts and two walks. He left in a 3-1 hole after throwing 98 pitches, 60 for strikes . . . Relievers Mayckol Guaipe, Mike Montgomery and Steve Johnson combined to allow one earned run in three innings . . . McHugh, who defeated Seattle 7-4 April 27 at Safeco Field, allowed one run on five hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk. Two of McHugh’s three wins this year have come against the Mariners.
“We didn’t have a whole lot going offensively today. McHugh kept us off balance. Iwakuma wasn’t quite as sharp as he has been, but they didn’t hit the ball hard off of him. With Houston, you’ve got to keep them off base, and we didn’t do that. But this was an excellent trip for us (5-2). We didn’t hit today, but for the most part we hit well on the trip. We just kind of had a dud today.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
Had the Mariners won, it would have been the first 6-1 road trip since June 2-9, 2014 and only the fifth 6-1 road trip in franchise history . . . The Mariners are 13-6 in their past 19 games, 16-7 in their past 23 and 13-6 on the road . . . The Mariners have won seven series, lost two and split one . . . Nelson Cruz sat out Sunday’s game with a bruised forearm, but is expected to play Monday night.
The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday at 7:10 p.m. to face the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a three-game series. RHP Felix Hernandez (2-2, 2.21) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Matt Moore (1-3, 4.95). Hernandez is coming off his shortest start of the season, in which he did not factor in the decision after allowing nine hits and eight runs in four innings of a 9-8 win over Oakland.