SEATTLE (AP) - The memories of what Houston's Philip Humber did a year ago in Seattle were gone in just one batter when Michael Saunders lined a single.
No repeat perfect game for Humber. No snapping of the Astros losing streak that's now at six games.
``Those guys have done a tremendous job of keeping us in ballgames and pitching well and we want that to continue,' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ``Offensively, we just need things to come around.'
Kendrys Morales drove in two runs in his Seattle home debut, Joe Saunders rebounded from a rough first start to throw 6 1-3 shutout innings, and the Mariners debuted the new look of Safeco Field with a 3-0 win over the Astros on Monday.
Morales snapped Seattle's 0-for-14 drought with runners in scoring position by chopping an RBI single in the first and added a two-out RBI double in the third, both off Humber (0-2). Michael Saunders scored each time.
While Seattle got clutch hits, Houston's offensive struggles continued, getting shut out for the third time already. Porter remains confident the offense will come around, but he isn't putting up with lapses either.
He pulled J.D. Martinez in the fourth inning and replaced him with Rick Ankiel.
There was no announcement made of a reason for the switch during the game and afterward, Martinez said he made a mental mistake and completely understood why there was a quick hook.
Martinez was pulled after he swung at the first pitch and popped out for the second out of the fourth inning.
``I had a mental error going up to the plate. It was totally my fault,' Martinez said. ``I understand everything Bo did taking me out. I hold nothing against him, because what I did was unacceptable. It was a mental mistake that will never happen again.'
The lack of offense by the Astros was partly due to a strong outing from Seattle starter Joe Saunders.
Saunders (1-1) went 6 1-3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out five. He improved to 7-0 all time at Safeco Field and dropped his ERA at the ballpark to 1.91 in 10 career starts.
It was an important and impressive rebound following a spring where he struggled and a first start in Oakland when Saunders had trouble gripping pitches and lasted just four innings. He combined with three relievers for the Mariners' second shutout. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
It helped that Saunders was facing the Astros, who struck out 74 times in the first six games. Houston struck out eight times on Monday night, and only once got a runner to third base.
Brandon Barnes reached third following Ronny Cedeno's two-out single in the fifth, but Saunders got Jose Altuve to ground into a force out to end the inning.
Saunders got help earlier in the game when Franklin Gutierrez made a diving catch in right-center field to rob Cedeno of at least a double leading off the third inning.
``As soon as he hit the ball I just went to go get it and the only chance that I have was to dive,' Gutierrez said.
Humber threw six innings, giving up just five hits and three runs and striking out two, but getting Saunders and Morales out were his biggest problems.
He then stole second on the next pitch and scored when Morales chopped his single over the glove of Cedeno to give Seattle an early lead.
Morales came through again in the third inning after Saunders reached on a bloop single that fell on the left-field foul line. Gutierrez struck out for the second out of the inning, but Morales lined Humber's pitch into the gap for his third double of the season.
Seattle added another run in the fifth when manager Eric Wedge guessed correctly and Gutierrez dropped a perfect squeeze bunt to score Dustin Ackley.
``I think I probably could have kept it to maybe a one-run game. Saunders getting to second both those times he scored was on me,' Humber said. ``Hopefully I do a better job holding runners next time.'
Monday night was the first look at Seattle's redesigned field dimensions and its new giant video screen.
After being one of the most unfriendly hitters' parks, the Mariners made changes to the outfield in an effort to make the park fair to both hitters and pitchers. The fences were brought in between 4 and 17 feet depending on the area of the outfield.
Notes: Former Seattle pitcher Jamie Moyer threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Before the game, the 50-year-old said he has not officially retired. Moyer pitched 11 seasons in Seattle and made 10 starts last year for Colorado. ... Houston CF Justin Maxwell singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to five games. ... Seattle had lost its past three home openers.
The Associated Press News Service
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