Lance McCullers allowed one run and fanned 10 over seven innings, George Springer cracked a 454-foot home run off Wade Miley in the fifth and the Houston Astros ended Seattle’s four-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Monday at Minute Maid Park (box). The Astros (44-39) moved back into sole possession of second place in the AL West over the Mariners (43-40).
After Luis Valbuena gave Houston a 1-0 lead on a first-inning sacrifice fly and the Mariners countered with an RBI single by 1B Dae-Ho Lee in the second, McCullers took command, frustrating the Mariners with a wicked curve. At one point, McCullers set down 14 consecutive hitters. Then came the seventh.
Trailing 2-1, the Mariners loaded the bases against McCullers with no outs on singles by 2B Robinson Cano and 3B Kyle Seager and a walk to RF Nelson Cruz. But Lee hit a comebacker to McCullers that turned into a 1-2-3 double play, leaving Cruz and Seager in scoring position for DH Adam Lind. But he popped to left for the third out.
After 31 runs in a four-game sweep of the Orioles, the Mariners had a triple from CF Leonys Martin to lead off the game but he was thrown out at the plate. Only four other hits came off three Houston pitchers. One other hit went for extra bases, a double by Seager to extend his hitting streak to seven contests . . . The Mariners have 25 extra-base hits in their past five contests . . . The Mariners went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded three.
Miley, who entered with a 5.58 ERA, had one of his best outings, allowing two runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings. He struck out two and walked two among his 81 pitches before manager Scott Servais lifted him in the seventh for Tom Wilhelmsen. Miley’s outing was the fourth time this year that he has worked into the seventh . . . Wilhelmsen pitched one scoreless inning . . . David Rollins loaded the bases in the eighth, but pitched out of the jam.
“I thought we had them on the ropes there in the seventh inning, but Lance McCullers did a good job and we didn’t get it done. I thought Wade had a real good game for us. But this was a tough, tight game. The seventh inning was really our shot.” — Servais
“This was definitely a step in the right direction for me. The pitch to Springer was a mistake pitch. This felt a lot better, but there is definitely more work to be done.” — Miley
The Mariners missed their first five-game winning streak since Sept. 1-6 . . . Seattle is 15-20 against the AL West, including 4-4 vs. Houston (2-3 at Minute Maid Park) . . . Mariners have played 27 one-run games and are 11-16 . . . The Mariners are 16-22 all-time on the Fourth of July . . . Seattle is 14-9-4 in overall series, including 7-4-2 on the road.
The second of three in in series is Tuesday at 5:10 p.m. RHP Taijuan Walker (7-6, 4.64) will throw for Seattle opposite LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-9, 5.13). After the series concludes Wednesday, the Mariners move to Kansas City for a four-game set that will conclude the first half of the season.