HOUSTON – Based on what had transpired in the first two games of the series, including being no-hit for the second time this season on Saturday night, and facing Astros ace Justin Verlander on Sunday, well, not much was expected from the Mariners.
The Mariners managed to get a hit and score a run, something that wasn’t a given into the afternoon finale at Minute Maid Park.
But a win against the Astros?
Well, that’s just one accomplishment too far at this point.
In a game that was vastly more competitive than anticipated, the Astros got a solid outing from Verlander and just enough offense to finish the three-game series sweep with a 3-1 victory over Seattle.
The Mariners were outscored 19-3 in the three games. They had a total of seven hits in the three games which equaled the number of home runs that the Astros slugged against them. Houston is now 12-1 in the season series vs. Seattle with six games left to play.
While 14 teams have been no-hit twice in the same season, no team has endured the misery three times. For almost four innings, it appeared like the Mariners were going to carve out a special place in dubious baseball history by getting no-hit three times in a season and in back-to-back games.
Verlander carved them up for the first three frames, striking out six of the 10 batters he faced while issuing a walk. That left the Mariners hitless for 15 straight innings. Their last hit – a Kyle Seager single – had come in the sixth inning of Friday’s loss.
But with two outs in the fourth inning, Seager bookended the hitless streak with an oops of an infield single off the end of his bat that cue-balled toward third base and managed to stay fair.
The streak was done.
Per Stats LLC, the only team in the last 40 years to go hitless in more consecutive innings was the Dodgers in 1981, also against the Astros with 16 straight.
So that was avoided.
Verlander shrugged off the singled and struck out Tim Beckham with a nasty curveball to end the inning.
The Astros gave him a lead in the bottom of the fourth against veteran lefty Tommy Milone. A leadoff double from Alex Bregman, a double from Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa’s infield RBI single made it 1-0 to start the inning. Milone limited the damage to just one run getting a big inning-ending double play off the bat of Robinson Chirinos.
Houston pushed the lead to 2-0 in the sixth. Alex Bregman doubled off Milone, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Alvarez’s sac fly to center.
The Mariners got their lone run in the seventh, breaking a scoreless streak of 17 innings when Seager hammered a first-pitch fastball from Verlander into the Astros’ bullpen that cut the lead to 2-1.
Seattle had some level of hope for a rally.
But reliever Matt Magill allowed another run to score in the bottom of the inning on a sac fly. With the Mariners’ offense in total dysfunction mode, overcoming a two-run lead was seemingly impossible.
There were no threats against the Astros bullpen in the final two innings.
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