HOUSTON (AP) - Erik Bedard had allowed no hits but thrown too many pitches. Once he left, the Seattle Mariners finally got a hit - the only one they needed.
Michael Saunders got Seattle's only hit with a two-run double with two outs in the seventh inning off reliever Jose Cisnero to lift the Mariners to a 4-2 victory over the last-place Astros on Saturday night.
Bedard (3-7) pitched 6 1-3 innings of no-hit ball before he was replaced by Cisnero, who walked Mike Zunino with two outs before the double by Saunders put Seattle ahead 4-2.
The long fly ball sailed just out of reach of sprinting center fielder Brandon Barnes and landed at the top of Tal's Hill in straightaway center.
Bedard had thrown 109 pitches when he left the game. Houston manager Bo Porter gave him the option of staying in, but the 34-year-old was ready to go.
``I've had three shoulder surgeries,' Bedard said. ``I'm not going over 110 (pitches). I'd rather pitch a couple more years than face another batter.'
The Mariners, who extended their season-high winning streak to five games, tied it in a wacky sixth inning by scoring two runs thanks to a combination of passed balls, walks and a sacrifice fly.
``I would say it was the strangest game I've been involved from Little League to the big leagues when you give up one hit and punch out 15 guys and end up on the losing side of it,' Porter said. ``But it's crystal clear how we ended up on the losing side of it. When you walk (six) guys and all four of their runs that score are via the walk, there's no defense for it.'
Travis Blackley and Jose Veras each pitched a scoreless inning to complete the one-hitter.
It was the third time the Mariners had only one hit in a win. The last was a 1-0 victory over the Yankees on April 27, 2002.
It was their fewest hits of the season, but they were helped by drawing six walks.
Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4) allowed seven hits with two runs and seven strikeouts in seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.99. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.
Bedard yielded three runs - one earned - walked five and struck out a season-high 10. He walked off the field expressionless and was greeted with a standing ovation when he was replaced by Cisnero.
He relied on fastballs between 90-92 mph and mixed in a few curveballs and changeups to keep the Mariners off-balance.
Bedard is the first Houston pitcher to go 6 1-3 hitless innings since Darryl Kile tossed a no-hitter against the Mets on Sept. 8, 1993.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge said it was the best he's ever seen Bedard, a former Mariner, pitch.
``Bedard threw a heck of a ballgame,' Wedge said. ``He had a great breaking ball going, a live fastball. He did everything good to keep us off-balance but we made him work. We were able to get him out of there at a reasonable time and try somebody else out.'
Porter was disappointed in the walks by Bedard, but still deemed his performance great.
``He had probably the best stuff in which he's had all year,' Porter said. ``He had late life to his fastball. The breaking ball had unbelievable depth. It was sharp. He even broke out his changeup tonight and threw a few really good changeups in some hitters' counts and was able to get swings and misses.'
Bedard didn't allow a baserunner until Kendrys Morales walked to start the fifth inning. But he got back on track after that, retiring the next four batters he faced.
He then issued consecutive walks to Saunders and Brad Miller with one out in the sixth inning. Saunders advanced to third and Miller took second on a passed ball by Jason Castro. Saunders scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Franklin to get Seattle within 2-1.
A second passed ball by Castro allowed Miller to score and tie it at 2.
``With Bedard, I mean, the way that he pitches, I only know what's coming about half the time,' Castro said when asked about the passed balls.
Raul Ibanez walked before Bedard retired Morales to end the inning.
Bedard retired Kyle Seager on a fly out before he was chased on a walk by Justin Smoak.
Matt Dominguez singled to start the fifth before a double by Jake Elmore. Dominguez scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Altuve with one out to make it 1-0. A single by Castro sent another run home.
The Astros had runners at second and third with no outs in the third inning, but Iwakuma retired the next three batters, with two strikeouts to end the threat.
Seattle's tough offensive night ended its franchise-high streak of 23 straight games with a home run. It was the Mariners' first game without one since June 19.
NOTES: Seager went 0 for 4 to snap a 15-game hitting streak, which was the longest active streak in the majors. ... The series wraps up on Sunday when Seattle's Felix Hernandez (10-4) opposes Jordan Lyles (4-3). Hernandez leads the American League with a 2.53 ERA. ... Roger Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner and special assistant to Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, was at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. He had a talk with the Astros pitching staff and tried to encourage them to stay positive as the losses continue to pile up.
The Associated Press News Service
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