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Mariners 4, Astros 1: Peacock Matches Hernandez, M's Bullpen Outlasts Astros Bullpen

What started out as a pitchers duel, ended up with an Astros bullpen carousel, which allowed M's to break through late.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After taking 2 out of 3 from the Oakland A's this weekend, the Astros take the field in their role as spoiler against the AL West (and their individual playoff hopes), starting a series with the Mariners at Safeco Field.  The Astros are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and 4-1 in the new Lawless Era.  They are also riding high on the fact that they have no chance of "ruining the integrity of the game" by losing 100 games again.  Well, I don't know how high they are riding, but I kinda like it.

On paper, there is a bit of a mismatch on the mound, with Brad Peacock going for the good guys, and Cy Young frontrunner Felix Hernandez for the M's.  When you see that matchup, the phrase "pitcher's duel" is not the first thing that comes to mind, but that is what we had between these two.  Both pitchers through 5 innings had given up 4 hits, struck out 6, and had given up zero runs.  There were guys in scoring position for both teams, but no real threats.

Peacock came out after the 5th even though his pitch count was not too high.  (According to the CSN announcers, Lawless wanted to get some work for the bullpen.)  Darrin Downs came in to start the 6th and got an out, but gave up a walk.  Jorge DeLeon came in next, and struck out the first batter he faced since his call up.  He then walked Michael Saunders in a long at-bat to put runners at first and second.  Brad Miller followed with a first pitch RBI single to make the score 1-0.

In the top of the 7th, the Mariners bullpen took over for Hernandez, and Robbie Grossman almost tied it up on one swing.  Saunders reached over the right field wall and pulled the ball back into play, but did not make the catch.  Initially it was called a home run, but after review it was overturned and Grossman was given a triple.  Jose Altuve drove him in with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.

Kevin Chapman pitched a scoreless 7th, and came back out and got the first out in the 8th.  Mike Foltynewicz was next up, and he walked Mike Zunino, the only batter he faced, before giving way to Tony Sipp.  The Mariners sent in James Jones to pinch run for Zunino, and he promptly stole second.  After Sipp walked Saunders, he gave up a 2 run triple to Brad Miller to make the score 3-1.  They tacked on another run before Jake Buchanan got them out of the inning.

The Astros made a little noise in the 9th, but Fernando Rodney closed the game out (almost 4 hours after the first pitch) to collect his league leading 44th save.

Collin McHugh takes the hill tomorrow night for the middle game of this series.

Fun Facts

Jose Altuve went 0-3 tonight to end his hitting streak at 14 games.

Chris Carter got his 4th steal of the year on a weird, delayed steal kind of thing.  Tom Lawless seemed to be trying to control his laughter in the dugout.

Tweet of the Night