SEATTLE — Houston had plenty of opportunities Wednesday night, but each time the tying run reached third base, the Astros were unable to get the job done.
The failed chances eventually ran out and the Astros were unable to complete a three-game sweep against Seattle, falling 3-2 to the Mariners.
Down a run, Houston loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth off Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina, who had walked three in the inning. Chris Carter, who homered an inning earlier, struck out to end the threat.
The Astros then put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth after back-to-back singles by Jake Marisnick and Jose Altuve. But Seattle closer Fernando Rodney induced an infield popup and groundout to second to end the game and earn his fourth save in five tries.
"The last two innings definitely had every chance to get at least a tie, if not break it open," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Give them credit. They made some pitches at the most opportune times."
The Seattle bullpen's ability to get through the final two innings unscathed preserved J.A. Happ's first win with the Mariners. Acquired in an offseason trade, Happ (1-1) won his third start. He gave up two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings, walking none and striking out five.
Happ ran into trouble in the seventh after allowing a leadoff home run to Carter — the first of the season for the slugger, who tied for second in the majors last year with 37 home runs — and single to Colby Rasmus. Happ immediately induced a double play and got out of the inning with a fly ball.
After retiring the first batter of the eighth, Happ gave way to the bullpen.
"Just being aggressive and trying to get ahead of guys is big for me," Happ said. "Been able to throw strikes and get ahead of guys. That's the way I'm successful."
Houston starter Roberto Hernandez (0-2) stumbled early, but eventually settled down to pitch seven innings.
"In the first few innings the ball was kind of flat, but I was able to keep the ball down and started moving more and got comfortable," Hernandez said through an interpreter.
Austin Jackson singled, stole second and scored on Nelson Cruz's single to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
"Early, he was battling himself . very animated on the mound trying to catch his rhythm and get his pitches," Hinch said. "He breezed through the middle part of the game and then finished with seven strong."
Jose Altuve hit an RBI single with two outs in the Houston fifth to record his eighth RBI of the season.
Astros: Hinch said RHP Brad Peacock, put on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained lat muscle, is dealing with a lengthy issue. Peacock injured his back in his first appearance after being reinstated from the disabled list
Mariners: Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen (hyperextended elbow) is expected to start playing catch Friday and throw a bullpen on the team's next road trip.
ZUNINO GOES YARD
Seattle's Mike Zunino hit a home run well beyond the left-field fence in the third inning for his second on the season. The home run was the first allowed by the Astros in six road contests this season.
Astros hitting coach Dave Hudgens was ejected in the middle of the fourth after Luis Valbuena was called out on strikes to end the top half of the inning.
"These are high intensity games," Hinch said. "Everybody has an opinion. We voiced our displeasure."
RARE LOSS FOR HOUSTON
The loss snaps a four-game win streak for the Astros. Despite the defeat, Houston has won its last two series and three of the last four.
Astros: Houston has a day off Thursday before starting a three-game set at Oakland. LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-0) takes the mound for the Astros looking for his 11th consecutive quality start, a streak that dates to last August.
Mariners: Seattle gets a day off before ace Felix Hernandez takes the mound Friday against the Twins. Hernandez looks to improve to 3-0 in his fourth start of the season, and is coming off a 12-strikeout performance on April 12.
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