It was a night to forget for the Mariners as they fell behind 13-0 after four innings to Houston in the rout. Brandon Maurer didn’t make it out of the first inning, the Astros got 22 hits (including five homers), and it was all witnessed by the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history (10,745). They added four runs in the ninth inning, long after the outcome had been decided.
MARINERS EIGHTH: Back to back homers from Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse, the latter probably not a homer last year with the old fences. 15-5.
MARINERS SEVENTH: A long homer by Jason Bay, his first as a Mariner, off the facing of the upper deck in left. 14-3.
Had to pause blogging to get going on my newspaper story. Meanwhile, the Mariners finally scored a couple in the fifth on a pair of sac flies, one by Brendan Ryan, the other by Michael Saunders. The phrase “drop in a bucket” comes to mind. It’s 14-2 Houston.
MARINERS FOURTH: Small victories: Michael Saunders lines a one-out single to end Bedard’s perfect game. Two walks loaded the bases, but Jesus Montero — still looking for his first extra-base-hit (like Smoak and Ackley) fouled out to first. 13-0 Astros.
ASTROS FOURTH: More bad news for Mariners: As I suspected, crowd is smallest ever at Safeco (10,745). And the Astros tacked on two more on a two-run homer by Jose Altuve. Houston had two homers in seven games, and four tonight. 13-0 Astros.
MARINERS THIRD: As if all those Houston runs weren’t bad enough, Erik Bedard has a perfect game going through three, with three strikeouts. Pretty disastrous night all the way around for Mariners. 11-0 Astros.
ASTROS THIRD: Clearly, the decision was made that Loe was going to have to wear it for at least one more inning. He keeps getting hammered (another homer, a walk and two singles) for two more runs. It’s now 11-0 Astros. Charlie Furbush finally got up near the end of the inning, but Loe finally got the third out.
ASTROS SECOND: This game has disintegrated even further for the Mariners, as Kameron Loe gives up two homers (Chris Carter, J.D. Martinez) for three more runs and a 9-0 Houston lead. Loe has got a serious gopher ball problem so far this year: Five homers in 5 1/3 innings.
ASTROS FIRST: Well, it was a disastrous outing for Brandon Maurer, who didn’t make it out of the first. The Astros got seven hits off him, with one walk, for six runs before Kameron Loe came on to get the last out. Remember, this is an Astros team that had been shut out three times in seven games and scored just 17 runs total. Coupled with Maurer’s rough outing in Oakland, you have to wonder if he’ll get a third start. 6-0 Astros.
Here’s a number to tuck away tonight: 11,352. That’s the smallest crowd ever at Safeco, against the Indians last year on April 18, the first Wednesday of the season. Judging by what I’m seeing, that could be in danger tonight.
Brandon Maurer should have his first-start jitters out of the way tonight. As an added bonus, he faces an Astros team with a .201 team average, worst in the American League (the Mariners are second-worst at .213). The Astros have been shut out three times in their first seven games and have struck out 82 times to lead the majors.
“I think he learned a great deal,” Eric Wedge said of Maurer’s first start, in which he gave up six runs in six innings against the A’s in Oakland. “You can’t help but learn a great deal when you have your first outing. Hopefully, he’ll be a little more comfortable, and have a little better understanding of what to expect. Because he’s been out there one time which is significant in and of itself. Other than that, just go out and have fun. Relax and enjoy it and just trust yourself.
Wedge felt nerves were a factor for Maurer in the first inning against Oakland, but that he settled down after that.
“He just got away from his strengths in that final inning,” Wedge said. “It happened pretty quick. I think that’s what he learned. I think at times with young pitchers, you make an adjustment before you have to make an adjustment. They’ll let you know. If they’re not, just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Houston starter Erik Bedard pitched for the Mariners from 2008-11, and for Wedge in 2011 until his trade to Boston on July 31. Pitcher Josh Fields was sent to the Red Sox in the same trade, and is now a Rule 5 reliever on the Astros. In that trade, the Mariners received Trayvon Robinson, who was sent this offseason to Baltimore for Robert Andino, who starts at third base for Seattle. This is Bedard’s first appearance against the Mariners since the trade. While with Baltimore, he was 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five career starts.