HOUSTON -- The Seattle Mariners saw their three-game win streak come to an end on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
With the bases loaded and no outs, outfielder George Springer hit a high chopper that bounced just out the reach of third baseman Kyle Seager to score Jose Altuve from third base to give Houston a 5-4 win in the bottom of the 11th.
It was the fourth walk-off loss the Mariners had endure this season. They've now dropped three of four games against the Astros -- who have the worst record in the American League at 10-19.
Charlie Furbush took the loss in relief. He gave up a lead-off single to Altuve. The Astros then put down back-to-back sacrifice bunts that didn't result in any outs for Seattle.
Kyle Seager gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning with a bases-loaded, two-run double to right-center. The ball was just inches from being a grand slam and was also just inches away from being caught by a leaping George Springer. The Mariners probably could have had more, but Justin Smoak struck out with runners on second and third and Dustin Ackley grounded out to end the inning.
But reliever Yoervis Medina couldn't hold the lead in the eighth. Medina issued a one-out walk to Alex Presley, which would prove costly. Matt Dominguez followed with a short single to left, while Presley was stealing to advance him to third. Jonathan Villar then hit a swinging bunt went about 22 feet into the infield, but it was far enough and slow enough for Presley to scamper home with the tying run and eventually sending the game into extra innings.
On a night when it would seem like extra innings would be impossible and starter Felix Hernandez would dominate, the Mariners got an ordinary performance from their ace.
He worked just five innings -- his shortest outing of the season -- giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits with three walk and six strikeouts.
Should there be a cause for concern?
Hernandez has been less than stellar in his last three starts -- two of them against the Astros. In his last three outings, he's posted a 4.42 ERA and walked a combined seven batters, while allowing 17 hits in 181/3 innings pitched.
He allowed a base runner every in each of the five innings he pitched and just never looked sharp.
Of course, a few defensive miscues didn't Hernandez out much.
In the third inning, Hernandez gave up a lead-off bunt single to Jose Altuve. Dexter Fowler followed with a hard groundball in the hole at shortstop that Brad Miller couldn't quite glove with a backhand sliding effort. Hernandez then got Jason Castro to hit a towering fly ball to center field. Abraham Almonte camped underneath the ball, but then whiffed on the catch as he neared the wall and the hill in center field. It was charged as an error.
The miscue allowed Altuve to score. Fowler scored two hitters later on Marc Krauss' line drive single up the middle. Hernandez was able to work out of the inning, retiring the next two hitters and keeping the lead at 2-0.
The Mariners came back to tie the score in the fifth inning. Mike Zunino hit his fourth homer of the season, blasting a towering moon-shot of a two-run homer to left off of Astros' starter Brad Peacock.
Given new life, Hernandez still couldn't maximize it. He opened the sixth inning by hitting Jason Castro with a pitch. Castro moved to second on a swinging bunt from George Springer and scored Marc Krauss' line drive off the right field wall. Michael Saunders made a nice play on the ball, grabbing it with his barehand and fired to second to get Krauss.
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