HOUSTON — Squandering late scoring opportunities in a close game cost the Mariners a chance Thursday to cool off Houston’s surging Astros in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings at Minute Maid Park.
Houston extended its winning streak to seven games when Jose Altuve drove a single off the left-field wall against reliever Dominic Leone for his first career walk-off RBI.
“Right pitch call,” Leone said. “Just bad execution. It was middle-middle. It’s got to be low and away.
“That’s exactly what Lloyd (McClendon) came out and said, `If you throw a good down-and-away sinker, you get a double-play ball.’ That’s …
HOUSTON — The spotlight and scrutiny rarely blinks for Mariners shortstop Brad Miller. Not with Chris Taylor healthy again and playing well at Triple-A Tacoma.
So when Miller commits a couple of throwing errors, as happened earlier this week against the Rangers, the questions — and the concerns — are going to resurface.
Miller just tries to let it wash over him.
“I just had two throws that were a little shaky,” he said, “but that’s how it works. You’re not going to be perfect every time. It’s nothing too extreme.
“Obviously, you want to make accurate throws, but you’ve just go to …
ARLINGTON, Texas — A sub-optimal Felix Hernandez is — no surprise — still pretty good. Still good enough Wednesday night to stymie Texas into the seventh inning and help the Mariners complete a three-game sweep.
This 5-2 victory was harder than it should have been because the Mariners were 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners. No matter. Hernandez (4-0) and the bullpen made it work.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Hernandez said. “My changeup was up. I fell behind a lot of times. The sinker was working pretty good, but that was it.”
The game turned …
ARLINGTON, Texas — If Mariners right fielder Nelson Cruz is again voted into the American League lineup for the All-Star Game, it will be as a designated hitter.
Major League Baseball placed Cruz among the DH candidates Wednesday when it released its All-Star ballot. He was voted last year as the starting DH while playing for Baltimore.
Cruz projects again as a top candidate — he leads the majors with 21 RBIs and is tied for the major-league lead with nine homers — but he played the outfield in 14 of the Mariners’ first 20 games.
Balloting commenced Wednesday and runs through 8:59 p.m. …
ARLINGTON, Texas — Just enough is still enough.
The Mariners made it two in a row Tuesday over the Texas Rangers by getting another strong start from J.A. Happ before a bullpen parade nursed home a 2-1 victory at Globe Life Park.
“These are the kind of games we’ve got to win,” Happ said, “if want to get to where we want to go. It good to see the last few days we’ve done that — won some tight ballgames.”
Fernando Rodney closed out the victory with a one-two-three ninth inning — See? They happen. — for his sixth save in seven chances. The …