Harang matches the best game of his career with a two-hitter, striking out 10.
MARINERS EIGHTH: They tack on a run when Chavez leads off with his second double of game, moves to third on a ground out, and scored on Seager’s single to center. It’s 4-0, and Harang is heading out for the ninth.
ASTROS EIGHTH: Harang gives up a leadoff single to Martinez off the left-field wall but gets the next three outs, including a strikeout of Cedeno, No. 10 in the game. He’s at 107 pitches and may be done, but what a masterpiece — two hits allowed in eight shutout innings. 3-0 Mariners.
MARINERS SIXTH: M’s tack on another one on Raul Ibanez’s 13th homer, and his second in this series. Harang working on a one-hitter through six. 2-0 Mariners.
ASTROS FIFTH: Aaron Harang is one infield single away from being perfect through five. He’s struck out eight. 2-0 Mariners.
ASTROS THIRD: It’s good Harang today, so far: 3 scoreless innings, 1 hit allowed (infield single), 5 strikeouts. 2-0 Mariners.
MARINERS SECOND: Another leadoff double (by Nick Franklin), another Houston throwing error to get him to third (their fifth error in 10-plus innings this series). And Franklin comes home on a sac fly by Michael Saunders (a rocket to deep left). 2-0 Mariners
MARINERS FIRST: More sloppy play from the Astros right from the start as Chavez leads off with a double and gets to third when the throw in from right skips by shortstop Ronny Cedeno for an error. The Mariners seemed on the verge of stranding Chavez until a two-out, two-strike wild pitch from Bud Norris. 1-0 Mariners.
ASTROS FIRST: Coming off his awful start against the Yankees (2.1 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs), Harang had an encouraging first inning, getting the Astros in order with two strikeouts.
The big news today, of course, is the arrival of catcher Mike Zunino, who is not in the starting lineup. Nor is Kendrys Morales, scratched with lower back pain. Wedge gave encouraging reports on Franklin Gutierrez and Justin Smoak, both of whom are nearly ready to begin rehab assignments (the second one for Gutierrez).
“Guti had his best day I’ve seen him have in a long time yesterday,” Wedge said. “We’re planning on have him do some work today and if everything else is fine, we’ll get him out tomorrow. Smoaker is really close to being ready to go out. He’s going to take some BP today and again tomorrow. If that goes well, we’d like to get him out as soon hopefully as Thursday.”