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|06-20-2015, 04:10 PM||#1|
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Astros' 5-game winning streak ends with 5-2 loss to Mariners
The Seattle Mariners made the most of their second chance against Astros rookie Lance McCullers.
Five days after being held hitless for five innings by the 21-year-old right-hander, the Mariners bunched enough key hits, if not exactly line drives, to manufacture a 5-2 victory Friday night that snapped Houston's five-game winning streak.
"I just think it wasn't our night," McCullers said. "A lot of things didn't go our way. Especially, you know, in that situation, they are just hit in the right spots, not hard enough to turn two, so ... it was frustrating all night."
George Springer staked the Astros to a 1-0 lead by lining the first pitch from Roenis Elias over the wall in left field for his 11th home run, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games.
But the Mariners answered with two unearned runs in the bottom half, then added one in the third and two in the fifth, all charged to McCullers (3-2), who allowed six hits and walked three in 4 1-3 innings.
"I think any time a pitcher faces you for the first time, he's at an advantage," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "The second time you face him, you've got a better idea of what he's all about and what he's going to try to do."
Elias (4-4), who had lost three of his previous four starts, gave up two runs -- solo homers on his first and last pitches -- in seven-plus innings. He matched his career high with 10 strikeouts without a walk, but hit two batters with pitches.
"I think it probably ticked him off a little bit, the home run, and probably made him even more determined," McClendon said. "He did a nice job."
Mark Lowe finished the eighth and Carson Smith pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
"I thought he did a good job mixing in his secondary pitches," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Elias. "His breaking ball was really good, change was good, velocity was up a bit. Outside of his first pitch of the game and last pitch of the game, we couldn't put a ton together."
Elias' performance was in stark contrast to his previous start, also against the Astros, when he gave up a career-high eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits with four walks in 3 1-3 innings.
"I was more aggressive and had more command of all my pitches," Elias said through a translator.
Robinson Cano, a late scratch Thursday night with a stiff lower back, had three hits and reached on an error for the Mariners. Nelson Cruz reached four times on two singles and two walks.
Marwin Gonzalez opened the eighth with his fourth homer for the Astros' second run.
Seattle loaded the bases in the first on Logan Morrison's opposite-field bloop single, a walk to Austin Jackson and an error by Gonzalez at second base on Cano's bouncer.
Cruz walked to force in a run, and Mark Trumbo, who had only one RBI in his first 12 games with Seattle, added a run-scoring groundout.
The Mariners increased the lead to 3-1 in the third on singles by Cano, Cruz and Trumbo.
Seattle pushed across two more runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Kyle Seager and another RBI groundout by Trumbo.
"To me the game's all about the first inning," Hinch said. "We didn't control the inning nearly as well as we normally do. A little bit of everything happened, from a seeing-eye single to an error to a missed tag. Too many bad things happened that inning and that sort of kick-started the night."
The Astros lost for the first time this season when hitting multiple home runs. They had been 27-0.
Houston rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, who was 0 for 4 with a strikeout, did not reach base for the first time in his 11-game career.
Astros OF Jake Marisnick was placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain and OF Colby Rasmus was activated from the bereavement list. ... 2B Jose Altuve missed his second straight game with a sore right hamstring. "He's day to day and today's not the day," Hinch said before the game.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-2, 2.04 ERA) has gone at least six innings in 25 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in the majors. He has not faced the Mariners this season, but was 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts in four starts against them last year.
Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (4-6, 5.00) is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA in his last four starts. He has walked only four in 29 innings during that span, after walking four in each start before that.
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