May 7, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Brandon Bielak (64) throws a pitch against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Astros bats go quiet in 3-1 loss to Seattle Mariners
The Houston Astros could not overcome a three-run deficit in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
Houston (17-17) managed a single run in the rubber match of the series while the Seattle Mariners were able to do just enough for a 3-1 win. Seattle (17-17) took two out of three over the weekend against the Astros.
Astros runs scarce in loss
Houston struggled to provide run support for its pitchers all afternoon. The Astros’ only run of the game came in the seventh inning, when Kyle Tucker’s ground-ball single off to center field off of Seattle left-handed reliever Gabe Speier drove in José Abreu.
Abreu reached with a double to center field to set up Tucker’s RBI single, which cut Houston’s deficit to 3-1.
The Astros recorded just six hits Sunday afternoon. They struck out 10 times in the loss.
Right-handed pitcher Brandon Bielak was tested right out of the gates by the Mariners on Sunday. Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk in the first inning to get things started. Ty France followed up with a double to put runners at second and third base with no outs.
Bielak maneuvered out of the jam when Jarred Kelenic lined out to shortstop Jeremy Peña, who quickly tossed the ball to second baseman Mauricio Dubón to nab France and complete the double play. Seattle third baseman Eugenio Suárez lined out to third baseman Alex Bregman to end the first inning without any damage.
Still, the Mariners got to Bielak in the fourth inning when Julio Rodriguez struck again. This time, he launched a leadoff solo home run to put Seattle in front, 1-0. Houston retired the side with a double play following the homer, but the Mariners continued to hit Bielak well.
Suárez doubled on a line drive to left field and scored when Cal Raleigh reached on José Abreu’s fielding error at first base. Abreu was unable to corral Raleigh’s grounder, allowing Suárez to score from second as the ball rolled into right field. Seattle led 2-0.
The Mariners charged a run to Bielak again in the bottom of the fifth. Seattle loaded the bases with a Jared Kelenic double, a single from Eugenio Suárez, and a walk from Teoscar Hernandez. Astros manager Dusty Baker pulled Bielak in favor of left-handed reliever Matt Gage. Gage balked, allowing Kelenic to score and extend Seattle’s lead to 3-0.
Bielak pitched only 4.2 innings, gave up 10 hits, and allowed three runs – although only two runs were earned. Three relievers pitched on Sunday in addition to Matt Gage.
Seth Martinez, Phil Maton, and Bryan Abreu combined to pitch for three innings. They combined to allow only one hit and struck out five Mariners.
News and Notes
• Yordan Álvarez recorded a single in the first inning. With the hit, he has reached base in 28 straight games to start the season, extending a franchise record.
• Second baseman José Altuve took batting practice with the Astros for the second straight day. General manager Dana Brown told the team’s flagship radio station SportsTalk 790 on Sunday that Altuve could begin his rehab assignment within the next week.
• Right-handed pitcher José Urquidy will likely be out for a couple of months. Brown told SportsTalk 790 prior to Sunday’s game there is a chance the team gets him back around the All-Star break, which is from July 10-13.
• Outfielders Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick are still on track to join the Astros during their series against the Los Angeles Angels, Brown told SportsTalk 790.
• Right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. tossed a complete bullpen session on Saturday. It is his first time doing so since suffering an elbow strain during spring training.
• Urquidy left last Sunday’s game against the Phillies in the sixth inning. He was put on the 15-day injured list on Monday with right shoulder discomfort.
The Houston Astros begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Monday. Right-handed pitcher Hunter Brown (3-1, 2.60 ERA) is expected to start for Houston. He will face off against lefty Patrick Sandoval (3-1, 2.93 ERA).