SEATTLE – Ten days ago, the Seattle Mariners pitching staff couldn’t get outs, giving up an avalanche of runs to Houston’s powerful offense.
Now it’s the Astros wondering what happened after getting shut out on consecutive days by the Mariners.
“I don’t think they pitched any different. I just think they executed better,” Houston’s Michael Brantley said. “If you’re executing, mixing your pitches, throwing quality strikes and staying out of the middle of the plate you’re going to have success.”
Rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert and four relievers combined to shut out Houston for the second straight day and J.P. Crawford scored the lone run on a sacrifice fly to give the Seattle Mariners a 1-0 win over the Astros on Wednesday.
Seattle took two of three in the series from the American League West leaders, and if not for a late collapse in the opener, it might have come away with a sweep. The Mariners are still 6½ games back of Houston in the division but continue to hang around in the wild-card race.
The Mariners received exceptional pitching for a second straight day along with a couple of defensive gems to make up for a lack of offense. Seattle managed just three hits off Houston starter Jake Odorizzi (6-7) and four relievers, but it proved to be enough.
Seattle gave up 30 runs in three games in Houston late last month. The Mariners allowed four in the three games this time around.
“It’s really hard to throw back-to-back shutouts in this league and especially against the type of lineup that we faced here,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Crawford scored on Abraham Toro’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Toro hit a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning to give Seattle a 4-0 win on Tuesday night. He came up again with the bases loaded on Wednesday and settled for a sacrifice fly.
“We’re playing good baseball. We’ll head out on the road; we got to pick up the offense a little bit. We know that,” Servais said.
Gilbert threw five innings before turning to Seattle’s bullpen. Justus Sheffield (6-8) made his first relief appearance in more than two years, allowing one hit. Casey Sadler pitched the seventh, but Houston threatened with Jose Altuve’s walk and Michael Brantley’s single with two outs in the eighth off Drew Steckenrider.
Paul Sewald struck out Carlos Correa to end the eighth inning for the second straight game with Altuve at second base. Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman singled with one out in the ninth off Sewald, but Kyle Tucker popped out and Jake Meyers struck out looking for Sewald’s eighth save.
“You want to be in high leverage situations. You want to be the guy at the plate, you want to be the guy coming in the game and those big situations,” Sewald said. “If you don’t, you don’t really make it in this league very long.”
Gilbert lasted only five innings due to a high pitch count. He got a huge defensive play from Crawford in the third inning, making a lunging backhanded stop of a shot by Correa and leaving Altuve stranded at third.
Gilbert allowed four hits, struck out four and walked none. It was the first time in his last four starts getting through five innings.
Odorizzi started the sixth but ran into trouble after a leadoff single by Crawford and walk to Mitch Haniger. Phil Maton loaded the bases with a one-out walk to Ty France, and Toro got a fly ball deep enough for Crawford to score.
Odorizzi allowed two hits and struck out seven.
“That’s very encouraging,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “Hate to see him get the loss because he threw the ball great.”
Houston was shut out on consecutive days for the second time this season. The Yankees blanked Houston in back-to-back games in July.
Seattle posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since April 29-30, 2016 vs. Kansas City.
Houston reinstated RHP Jose Urquidy from the 10-day injured list and recalled RHP Enoli Paredes from Triple-A Sugar Land. Urquidy has been out since late June due to right shoulder inflammation. He recently made three rehab appearances. Paredes appeared in 12 games earlier this season for the Astros as a reliever.
Seattle reinstated Sheffield from the injured list and recalled IF Kevin Padlo from Triple-A Tacoma. Sheffield has been out since July 7 due to a forearm strain and began a rehab assignment with Tacoma on Aug. 15. Padlo was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Aug. 19. Padlo appeared in nine games for the Rays earlier this season.
Astros: Baker said starting pitcher Zack Greinke and first baseman Taylor Jones would “probably not” be traveling with the Astros to San Diego. Greinke and Jones were placed on the injured list on Tuesday due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
Astros: Following a day off, the Astros open a series in San Diego. Urquidy (6-3, 3.38) will start the opener in place of Greinke.
Mariners: After a day off, Seattle opens a road trip in Arizona. The Mariners have not announced a starter for the opener.