HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the Seattle Mariners without an extra-base hit in seven innings.
And he took the loss.
Keuchel got off to a rough start, and the Astros couldn't recover en route to a 3-1 loss against the Mariners on Saturday night.
Seattle jumped on Keuchel for three runs in the first inning. Kendrys Morales had a run-scoring infield hit before Keuchel issued consecutive walks to Raul Ibanez and Nick Franklin to force home another run. Dustin Ackley then made it 3-0 with a grounder that brought home Morales.
Seattle entered the game 1-9 when failing to get an extra-base hit.
Keuchel was able to recover after the first inning.
``It was very interesting,' Keuchel said. ``I thought there were a couple of plays that were close, but I think that just about sums up our season. I couldn't dwell on those because otherwise, I would have been in a world of hurt. I got out of it and gave us a chance to win.'
Keuchel struck out eight in seven innings. He allowed four hits and walked two.
``They just happened to hit them in the field where we couldn't make a play,' Astros manager Bo Porter said. ``But after that tough first inning, Keuchel settled in and went six strong after that. It was pretty impressive.'
While Keuchel was able to overcome a sluggish start, the Astros' offense remained quiet.
Seattle starter Joe Saunders pitched into the sixth inning for his first win in nearly a month, giving the Mariners their third consecutive victory after coming to Houston losers of six in a row.
Saunders (11-13) allowed an unearned run and six hits over 5 1-3 innings in his first win since Aug. 4 at Baltimore. The left-hander was 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in his previous four starts.
Keuchel took accountability for the loss, not blaming the offense.
``The fact and the matter is I let three runs score in the first, and that made the difference,' Keuchel said.
Kyle Seager had two hits for the Mariners. They will have Hisashi Iwakuma on the mound Sunday when they go for a series sweep.
Matt Dominguez and Brandon Barnes had two hits apiece for Houston, which has lost five straight and is headed for its third straight 100-loss season.
The last time Barnes faced Saunders, he hit for the cycle.
``He's got a good changeup, so if I can see the ball up and try to make him throw his fastball over the plate, I have a good chance of getting some hits off of him,' Barnes said. ``I think it's just a comfort level thing, where he's just one of those guys I feel comfortable against.'
After Saunders left the game, Carter Capps and Yoervis Medina each pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings before Danny Farquhar finished for his 11th save.
Houston had a chance to get back in the game in the second. Dominguez led off with a single and Chris Carter then walked before Barnes grounded into a double play. The Astros loaded the bases on two walks, but rookie Cody Clark bounced into a forceout to end the threat.
``We just can't seem to be able to get the big hit,' Porter said. ``We've had plenty of opportunities and have had men in scoring position, but it just seems like the big hit is avoiding us at this point. We haven't been able to deliver that big hit to get us out of the rut that we're in, from an offensive standpoint.'
The Astros scored in the fourth when Barnes singled with one out and scored on an error by Franklin at second.
NOTES: Mariners SS Brad Miller has reached safely in 12 consecutive games. ... Astros INF Jake Elmore recorded his first major league steal in the second inning. ... The Mariners lead the season series 10-5, having taken eight of the past nine games. Porter said after the game that the Astros have recalled RHP Jorge De Leon and OF Trevor Crowe from Triple-A Oklahoma City and the two will be active Sunday.
The Associated Press News Service
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