Seattle Mariners

Mariners continue late-season tumble with 3-2 loss to Astros

AP

The Limp to the Finish Tour returned Monday night to Safeco Field when the Seattle Mariners opened their final homestand with a 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros.

That makes six losses in a row.

Four of those losses were by one run.

The last three were by 3-2 scores.

With five more games to go.

Yep, the Mariners are counting it down.

Houston broke a 2-2 tie on Chris Carter’s booming two-out homer in the seventh inning against reliever Danny Farquhar, who served up a walk-off homer to David Freese on Saturday at Anaheim in his previous outing.

“A curveball, a get-me-over for strike one,” Farquhar said. “He put a good swing on it and kept it fair. The execution wasn’t completely there. Ideally, you like that pitch to be down and away. It was down and in.”

A mistake against a hot hitter. Carter has homers in three consecutive games and in each of his past five starts.

“He’s obviously seeing the ball well,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I know the average is low (.196), but it’s not low for the last month (.364 since Aug. 28).

“That kind of strength with that kind of hand-eye (coordination) that he’s got working right now, that can do a lot of damage.”

When Mark Trumbo opened the bottom of the inning with a walk, the Astros replaced Lance McCullers (6-7) with lefty Tony Sipp while James Jones went in to run for Trumbo.

Sipp picked off Jones, who was in no-man’s land when Sipp threw to first. It continued a trend: The Mariners ran themselves into three outs Sunday in a 3-2 loss to the Angels.

“I just didn’t read his move,” Jones said. “He did a slide pick. Usually he picks his leg all the way up. I’ve just got to make sure I can get back on that.”

Houston had a chance to extend its lead when it loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning, but Tony Zych struck out Jed Lowrie. The Astros also left runners at the corners in the ninth.

It didn’t matter. Houston’s bullpen, so combustible in recent games, protected the one-run lead. Former Mariner Oliver Perez and Luke Gregerson combined for a scoreless ninth. Gregerson got his 30th save.

Mariners lefty Roenis Elias recovered from a loud first inning, when he surrendered two homers, by allowing nothing further in pitching through the sixth inning and handing a 2-2 game to Farquhar (1-6).

“The fact is we only scored two runs,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’ve got to get our offense going again. The same thing happened in Anaheim.”

The victory enabled Houston to close to 1  1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the American League West while simultaneously maintaining a half-game lead over Los Angeles for the AL’s final wild-card berth.

Elias opened the game by surrendering some real estate. Jose Altuve sent a 351-foot drive to left for a long out before George Springer parked a 402-foot drive over the right-center wall for a 1-0 lead.

After Carlos Correa grounded out, Evan Gattis crushed a 2-1 change-up for a 413-foot homer to left that cleared the scoreboard above the bullpens.

“The two home runs were not good,” Elias said. “I thought they were good pitches, but I was a little slow in my pace of game. Once I picked it up, it got better.”

The Mariners got one run back in their first with considerably less muscle.

Kyle Seager drew a one-out walk and came around on two-out ground singles by Robinson Cano and Mark Trumbo. Cano’s single extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

Two nice plays by first baseman Logan Morrison helped the Mariners stay close in the sixth. First, he turned a low liner into a double play. Next, he dug out a low throw from shortstop Ketel Marte for the third out.

Marte then opened the bottom of the inning with a no-doubt homer to right — the second homer of his career, and his second in three days. The game was tied. Briefly.

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