After sweeping a three-game set in Texas to start a 10-game road trip, the Mariners (10-15) are rapidly burying themselves in the AL West. They were swept in a four-game series by once-moribund Houston, Sunday losing at Minute Maid Park 7-6 (box score). They are eight games behind the division leaders after 25 games. Seattle had ts first four-game road sweep since April 30-May 3, 2012 at Tampa Bay, and has lost six of seven to the Astros (18-7) this season (boxscore).
After the Mariners rallied for four runs in the seventh to climb out of a 6-2 hole and tie the game, reliever Carson Smith allowed the first run of his major league career when Evan Gattis smacked a line drive over the left field wall in the eighth. The Gattis homer was his second of the day and one of three Sunday for the Astros, who clubbed 11 in the final three contests.
Seattle starter J.A. Happ, who entered 2-1, 2.30 in four starts, had his worst outing, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, including home runs to Gattis and Chris Carter that helped bury the Mariners in a 6-1 hole. Happ’s ERA jumped to 3.51 . Smith fanned Jose Altuve, batting .361, on three consecutive sliders to start the seventh. Closer Fernando Rodney, who recorded three saves in the previous series (Texas), did not see action against the Astros.
The Mariners had four consecutive hits to open the seventh — Kyle Seager infield hit, Logan Morrison single, Mike Zunino double, Rickie Weeks double. Weeks plated the tying run when, advancing to third, Houston 3B Jonathan Villar had a throw from home clank off his glove. The four runs tied a season high for an inning. The Mariners also scored four in the eighth inning April 12 at Oakland.
Robinson Cano went 0-for-3, his average dipping to .255. The Mariners tied a season-high with two triples (Smith, Brad Miller) and went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Smith hit a triple, double and single.
Twenty-three of Seattle’s 25 games have been decided by three or fewer runs . . . CF Austin Jackson suffered a sprained right ankle when he jammed it on the corner of the first-base bag. He was replaced by Justin Ruggiano in the fourth inning and is listed as day-to-day.
The Mariners begin a three-game set in Anaheim against the L.A. Angels Monday night with Felix Hernandez (4-0, 1.82) seeking his fifth victory. He will oppose RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 6.00).