SEATTLE (CBS) – For the second time in four games, the Mariners were unable to hold a sizable lead, this time as the Astros mounted a five-run comeback to win the rubber match of the series, 10-5
Albeit earlier in the game than Sunday’s fiasco–when Seattle surrendered six runs in the bottom of the ninth to the Angels–Wednesday night’s loss was no less painful for the Mariners.
After taking a 5-0 lead through the first three innings, Houston rattled off 10-straight unanswered runs, and the Mariners simply had no answer on offense or defense.
Yovanni Gallardo was solid through his first three innings, facing just one batter more than the minimum and allowing just two baserunners.
However, things began to unravel in the fourth when a pair of leadoff walks and a single by Carlos Correa loaded the bases. Gallardo struck out the next two batters and ultimately escaped the inning allowing just two runs.
But the momentum shift had already begun.
Houston went on to score two runs in the fifth, three in the seventh and three in the eighth en route to their fourth come-from-behind win of the season.
For a team that struggled to score runs through the first week of the season, the Mariners sure didn’t look like it early on Wednesday night. Seattle tacked on five runs through the first three innings and looked to be cruising to their first series win.
Through their first 9 games, Seattle averaged just 3.6 runs per game. Those numbers looked to be improving, as they’ve scored 25 runs over their last four.
That combined with the five early runs? A step in the right direction.
Out of the woods? Not quite.
After the third inning on Wednesday night, the bats went cold. With just three hits from the fourth inning on, Seattle looked crippled on offense. As the Astros retired 18 of the final 21 batters sent to the plate, a series loss seemed to be the least of the Mariners’ woes.
Seattle moves to 2-8 on the season, their worst 10-game start since 2004, when the team lost 99 games and finished last in the American League West.
The Mariners have an off day Friday before the Texas Rangers come to town on Friday for a three game series. Felix Hernandez (0-1, 4.09 ERA) will make his third start of the season for Seattle, while Martin Perez (1-1, 2.38 ERA) gets the ball for the Rangers.
—THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
While the middle of the lineup remains the focal point of the Mariners offense, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager aren’t the only ones with the big bat.
In the third inning, Mike Freeman lifted a 1-0 fastball into the seats in right field for his first career Major League home run. An inning later, Taylor Motter hit a two-run homer to left.
After losing Jean Segura to a hamstring strain, Freeman and Motter, both relatively new to the Mariners, have stepped in to fill the void left by the loss of the Mariners’ starting shortstop.
Motter has started the last two games at short, with three doubles last night and going 2-4 tonight with two more extra base hits. An offseason acquisition from Tampa Bay, Motter has just 38 games of experience in the majors.
Freeman was added to the squad from Tacoma after Segura was sent to the DL. Sliding in at first base to replace Danny Valencia, Freeman made the most of his first start going 2-4 with the homerun.
While Scott Servais said he expects Segura to be ready to go after his 10 days on the disabled list, Seattle appear to have more than competent backups to fill in, at least within the small sample size.
—WHEELS ON THE BAGS
After walking to lead off the game, Jarrod Dyson stole second and would’ve stolen third had it not been for Cano’s single up the middle on a pitch Dyson was already running on.
Last season with the Kansas City Royals, Dyson stole 30 bases, which would be the most by any Mariner since Ichiro had 40 in 2011.
Dyson has two stolen bases so far this season. In 2016, only five Mariners swiped more than two bags during the entire season — Leonys Martin (24), Ketel Marte (11), Nori Aoki (7), Shawn O’Malley (6) and Kyle Seager (3).