M’s Shutout in Finale, but Take Three of Four from Houston at Home

Over the last 20+ games against Houston, Seattle has been the dominant force, (outside of course, the 2022 American League Divisional Series). Could they keep their winning ways going against the 2017 & 2022 World Series Champions? If you missed any of the action this week, follow along!

Young right-hander, and Texas-native Bryce Miller faced 2x All-Star Framber Valdez to get things rolling on a chilly Monday night.

After Miller was able to cause three Houston popouts in the first, Seattle got to work early on the offensive side. J.P. Crawford laced a double off of the glove of recently recalled Jose Abreu at first to kick things off. Julio Rodriguez stayed hot at the dish as he singled through the four-hole, and after a walk that was worked by Mitch Garver, Cal Raleigh dug in from the right side.

Raleigh torched a ball into the right center gap on the first pitch he saw from Valdez, but Jake Meyers made a spectacular sliding grab against the fence, preventing a bases-clearing double, resulting in just a sacrifice fly.

Seattle was not done in the inning, however. Ty France and Mitch Haniger both produced two-out RBI singles to give the M’s an early three-run cushion.

Bryce Miller was strong for the first half of the game. He punched out four in a row at one point and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. That is where Houston started to figure out Miller.

Two runs scored in the inning on four hits, including a sacrifice fly by catcher Victor Caratini.

After the first for the Mariners, the offense struggled mightily against Valdez. Luckily, the bullpen was very efficient following Miller’s start.

Righty Trent Thornton allowed a hit, but no runs in the seventh. Lefty Gabe Speier punched out Kyle Tucker in a 1-2-3 eighth. Andres Munoz continued his wonderful stretch by striking out two of three in the ninth to close it out. Seattle took the opener by one run, a final of 3-2 in favor of the home team.

Looking for their third straight win, it was La Piedra’s turn. Luis Castillo got the nod against Hunter Brown, who came in with a plus-seven ERA and a 1-5 record.

Again, it was the M’s who scored first and early. A 1-2-3 first twirled by Castillo was followed by two base hits by Seattle, as Julio drove in Josh Rojas on an RBI single the other way.

Top two, and one of the American League’s best hitters, Jeremy Pena, faced Luis. On a very well-located 2-2 slider, Pena drove one deep to left, but Luke Raley made a highway-robbery catch, taking a would-be homerun away, keeping the one-run lead intact.

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners

Not only does Seattle's Luke Raley have sneaky speed for a big man, but the 29-year-old also has a bit of bounce. Here's his fantastic grab on Tuesday night.Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Following the first, and much like Monday’s contest, Seattle was quiet offensively against Brown.

Fourth inning now, and after a base runner was allowed by Castillo, third baseman Alex Bregman cranked his fifth home run of the season into Edgar’s Cantina, giving the ‘Stros their first lead of the series.

Both starters were proficient Tuesday night:

L. Castillo: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 6 K

H. Brown: 6.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 9K

2-1 Houston was the score all the way up until the bottom of the eighth. After Brown’s exit, and after a scoreless inning from reliever Bryan Abreu in the seventh, Ryan Pressly was up on the bump.

Mitch Haniger got the M’s going on a double into the left field corner to instantly put the tying run in scoring position. Rookie Ryan Bliss was tasked with bunting over Haniger to third. Though he failed on two consecutive Pressly sliders, he didn’t give up on the at-bat. A wild pitch moved Mitch to third, and Bliss was able to work a then 0-2 count into a walk.

Pressly got J.P. to K swinging, bringing Rojas to the dish with runners at first and third. On the second pitch he saw, Rojas pulled a hard-hit grounder to the left of Jose Abreu at first. The ball skipped off of his glove into right, as Haniger scored to knot it at two, and Rojas scampered into second base with a double. Then it was up to J-Rod.

With ducks on the pond, Julio dribbled a swinging bunt towards Bregman at third. Bliss, with his plus speed, was able to score, and the throw attempt to first from Bregman was off-line as the ball got past Abreu, which then scored Rojas on the same play. An unconventional single/E5 resulted in a 4-2 Seattle advantage.

After Castillo’s day was done, Austin Voth and Tayler Saucedo kept the game within striking distance with two scoreless innings. Munoz had appeared in the two games prior, so it was up to former-Astro Ryne Stanek to close it out, and he did such that with ease: back-to-back strikeouts via the splitter and a pop out. Seattle continued their winning ways against Houston, a 4-2 final.

Game three of four, and eyeing a series win, George Kirby toed the slab against future Hall-of-Famer Justin Verlander. A sexy pitching matchup proved to be as such.

Houston jumped ahead after two scoreless innings on an RBI single by Jake Meyers. Seattle’s Dominic Canzone, in the fifth, cranked his fifth home run of the season off of JV.

That was the bulk of the offense on both sides, as 1-1 was the score throughout Verlander’s and Kirby’s starts. Final lines from Wednesday’s starters:

G. Kirby: 6.0 IP, 6 H, ER, 8 K

J. Verlander: 7.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 9 K

Again, the bullpen was spectacular, and this time, on both sides. Bryan Abreu and Josh Hader for Houston both struck out the side. Trent Thornton, Gabe Speier, Austin Voth and Andres Munoz all combined for three innings of scoreless work.

Wednesday’s matchup included free baseball, as Seattle and Houston headed to extras. It was just the fourth time this season for the Mariners, and their newest pickup, Mike Baumann got the call for the top of the tenth. He was magnificent, halting the ghost runner at second, and getting the Astros to go down in order on two fly outs and a ground out.

The M’s had a prime chance to walk this one off in the home tenth. Reliever Tayler Scott was set to face Dom Canzone with the ever-so speedy Jonatan Clase on at second. Canzone grounded out, productively, to Jose Altuve, setting up the winning run at third for Cal Raleigh.

Raleigh, then Luke Raley were both walked in succession. Bases juiced, one down for J.P. Crawford…

On the second pitch he saw from Scott, J.P. launched a fly ball deep into the right field corner. It was run down and caught by Kyle Tucker, but Clase could have crawled home. A sac fly won it in the tenth, as the M’s had won their fourth game in a row, and third consecutively against in-division-rival Houston.

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners

Julio Rodriguez was the wrong guy to escape a Gatorade bath from Wednesday night, as J.P. Crawford was the victim after his walk-off winner.Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Despite lackluster offense throughout the majority of the series, the Mariners could sweep the Astros Thursday with a win. The thin man, Logan Gilbert faced off with 24-year-old Spencer Arrighetti.

As the sun beamed down on beautiful T-Mobile Park, the game was scoreless through three complete. That was until Alex Bregman faced Gilbert with a man aboard. He cranked a well-located splitter into the bullpen. His second two-run home run of the series had the ‘Stros up two.

Seattle struggled again at the plate. Houston added two more, one in the fifth on a solo home run and one in the sixth. Arrighetti twirled his best performance of the season, allowing just two hits across six innings. The M’s struck out 12 times in total throughout the series finale.

The brooms stayed in the closet, as Houston was able to salvage a win Thursday and avoid the sweep. Final: HOU 4, SEA 0.

Now four games above .500, the M’s welcome in the last-place Los Angeles Angels for the first time in 2024. LAA, who is Shohei Ohtani-less (signed massive, long-term deal with Dodgers in the offseason) and Mike Trout-less (underwent surgery to repair a torn left meniscus in early May) have struggled, non-shockingly. They rank in the bottom-third in almost all pitching categories.

A three-game set begins Friday night in the Emerald City. RHP Bryan Woo goes Friday, followed by RHP Bryce Miller Saturday evening, and RHP Luis Castillo will start the midday series finale Sunday. Los Angeles has yet to announce their pitching probables for the weekend.

American League West standings as of 5/30 @ 4:00 PM:

  1. Seattle Mariners (31-27), -- GB
  2. Texas Rangers (27-29), 3.0 GB
  3. Houston Astros (25-32), 5.5 GB
  4. Oakland Athletics (23-35), 8.0 GB
  5. Los Angeles Angels (21-34), 8.5 GB

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