The Mariners let another one slip away as Wedge’s decision to pull Bonderman after eight, having thrown just 89 pitches and given up three hits, backfired. Tom Wilhelmsen couldn’t nail down the save, and the inning unraveled quickly.
ASTROS NINTH: Disastrous inning as Astros scored six, send 12 men to plate. Five of them charged to Wilhelmsen. No time to go into details, but it was as bad as it sounds. 6-1 Astros
MARINERS EIGHTH: Two-out RBI single by Nick Franklin to right scores Endy Chavez from second. Wilhelmsen coming in to try for save . 1-0 Mariners
MARINERS SEVENTH: Will anyone score? Lyles strikes out Ryan for the third time and becomes ninth starter this year to reach double-digit strikeouts vs. Mariners. Astros have two hits, Mariners three. 0-0
ASTROS SIXTH: So maybe his first start in Minnesota will turn out to be the aberration for Bonderman. He’s working on a two-hit shutout, and reached 94 mph on the gun this inning. But the Mariners need to get him a run. 0-0
MARINER FOURTH: Big moment for Zunino, who drills a one-out single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch, following a double by Nick Franklin. It was hit so hard, in fact, Franklin had to stop at third. Saunders walked, but Lyles struck out Ryan and Liddi to get out of it. Nine Mariners have struck out in four innings. 0-0.
MARINERS SECOND: After a strikeout by Ibanez and a single by Franklin, Zunino came up for his first major-league at-bat. He received a nice ovation from the small crowd but wound up striking out on a 2-2 curveball in the dirt from Jordan Lyles. Prior to that, Zunino had worked a pretty good at-bat, fouling off a couple of pitches to stay alive. Lyles ended up fanning the side around the single and a two-out walk to Michael Saunders. 0-0
ASTROS SECOND: Another quick and easy inning for Bonderman, who has retired all six batters he’s faced, with a strikeout.
ASTROS FIRST: A popup and two flies to center in a 1-2-3 first inning by Bonderman, throwing to Zunino.
The big story line, of course, is Mike Zunino’s major-league debut.
“Being able to play and just get your feet wet here is just pure excitement,” Zunino said before the game. “I’m ready to get out there and play and hopefully help the team win.”
He said it helps that he’s catching Jeremy Bonderman, whom he caught in Tacoma this season.
“You definitely have an idea of what he wants to do, which is the biggest step. As long as we can be on the same page, or close to it, that’s going to help him out. Hopefully, we can have some success. It’s definitely going to help that I’ve caught him throughout the season so far.”
Zunino said it was “awesome” to get a chance to watch last night’s game from the dugout after rushing from Las Vegas to Seattle.
“Yeah, it was awesome. It was one of those things where you get called up it’s excitement in itself. But having a night to be able soak it in and see how everything works and sit watch it was a lot of fun. It was one of those things I’ll never forget. I think tonight will be the same thing.”
Franklin Gutierrez is beginning his second rehab stint with Tacoma tonight, and it looks like Justin Smoak will join him with Tacoma tomorrow.
“I’m excited to get Smoak and Gutierrez out,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Not having Gutierrez this year has really been a huge hit for us. It really changed everything. You talk about your lineup and what he means in the field, just everything really worked together. We saw in spring training when he was in there it all came together nicely. So I’m hoping we can get both those guys back.”