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|07-17-2016, 08:30 AM||#1|
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Astros come up empty in 1-0 loss to Mariners
Jose Altuve immediately regretted his decision to bunt with the tying run on second in the top of the ninth inning.
And while the AL batting leader reach third base with one out in the ninth, that's as far as he got as the Houston Astros lost 1-0 to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
Marwin Gonzalez led off the ninth with a double to right, but was caught in a rundown after Altuve bunted the ball straight back to Seattle closer Steve Cishek. Altuve advanced to second on the play, and stole third with Correa at the plate, but Cishek struck out Correa and Luis Valbuena for his 22nd save of the season.
"I was thinking about we needed that run," Altuve saiod. "I wasn't thinking about winning the game in that inning. I wanted Marwin on third with less than two outs for Carlos. I feel like I have to swing the bat."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch added: "Yeah, I'm not sure what (Altuve) saw. Maybe a little uncomfortable against Cishek. He wanted to do it."
Hisashi Iwakuma limited Houston to two hits in seven innings, winning his fourth straight start to become the first Seattle pitcher to reach double-digit wins. He struck out eight and walked one as the Mariners snapped a five game losing streak against Houston.
"Can't say enough about our pitching today," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I thought Iwakuma was awesome. Back and forth, really good command of all of his pitches. He elevated late in some counts, really expanded the strike zone against a really good team. Outstanding job by Kuma."
Robinson Cano provided the only scoring with an RBI single in the sixth. Leonys Martin led off the inning with a triple -- his second extra-base hit of the game -- and Cano followed with the single to left.
Houston starter Lance McCullers (4-4) was strong through the first five innings, allowing two hits and striking out five before giving up the run in the sixth. He struck out eight and walked four in 5 1/3 innings.
"I felt good," McCullers said. "I made big pitches when I had to. I felt in control most of the game even when there was a guy on third, I had no question I could get a ground ball and keep him there or get a couple of punch outs in a row and keep it 0-0. Like you said he mushed the ball through the left side and the guy is getting paid $30 million per year to do that. Sometimes you make a good pitch and a hitter finds a way."
Iwakuma allowed only a double by Altuve with two outs in the first and a double by Correa in the seventh. In his last six starts, Iwakuma has pitched at least seven innings and is 5-1 during the stretch.
"I think we had a good game plan," Iwakuma said. "We had a meeting with our catcher and pitching coach and had a good idea of how we were going to approach this. We were able to command both sides of the plate, up and down, and it worked out well."
Correa reached third, advancing to second on a groundout following his one-out double. But Iwakuma got Colby Rasmus to ground out to Cano to end the inning.
The Astros lead the MLB with 33 games decided by one run this season. Houston is 17-16 in those contests.
Cano recorded his 20th RBI of the season against the Astros with his go-ahead single in the sixth, becoming just the sixth player in Mariners history to drive in 20 or more runs against a single team.
Astros: OF Rasmus returned to the lineup Saturday and started in left field after missing the last five games with an ear infection.
Mariners: Nelson Cruz was scratched from the lineup Saturday with a sore foot after fouling a ball off it Friday and is day-to-day. ... RHP Felix Hernandez made a rehab start Friday in Tacoma and will start for the Mariners when they face the Pirates on Wednesday.
Astros: RHP Colin McHugh (5-6, 4.50) will make his 19th start of the season against in the series finale. McHugh has allowed three earned runs or less in five straight starts.
Mariners: LHP Mike Montgomery (3-3, 2.06) will make his second start of the season. In his first start, Montgomery allowed one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Royals.
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