Houston can't complete the sweep

Astros drop finale to Mariners after rough bullpen outing

Houston's offense couldn't outpace the bullpen struggles in Wednesday's finale against the Mariners. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After the come-from-behind walk-off win in extras to lock up the series victory on Tuesday, the Astros sought a series sweep with a win on Wednesday afternoon to finish this series against Seattle. They would again come up short of a sweep, with their bullpen allowing late runs to put Seattle on top.

Final Score: Mariners 8, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 81-58, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Diego Castillo (3-5)

Losing Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (5-2)

Urquidy lasts only three frames

In this start, things did not go well for Jose Urquidy, beginning with a two-run first inning where he would load the bases with three one-out singles and then allowed a two-RBI double to Abraham Toro to put the Mariners in front 2-0. He would get through the next two innings without any more damage, but with his less-than-normal stuff and having already reached 70 pitches, Houston would move to their bullpen in the fourth. Urquidy's final line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 70 P.

Houston jumps in front

Urquidy would at least leave with his team in front, thanks to a three-run second by his offense. After a leadoff single by Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker drove him in with a one-out RBI double to make it a one-run game. Two batters later, Marwin Gonzalez, who recently rejoined his old team, launched a go-ahead two-run homer to put the Astros in front 3-2.

The one-run score stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth, when Jose Altuve would add another run on a leadoff solo homer, making it 4-2. They had the chance for more that inning, loading the bases with two outs, but would strand all three runners. After Urquidy made his early exit, Christian Javier entered to eat up some innings, and he would, getting through the fourth, fifth, and pitched into the sixth. He would get one out while allowing two on base, one walk and one single, before being lifted in favor of Brooks Raley, who finished the frame and got the first batter out of the seventh.

Astros can't complete the sweep

After Raley, Yimi Garcia entered to try and finish the inning. Instead, he allowed a double and a single while getting one out, putting two on base as they moved on to Phil Maton. Maton would watch both inherited runners score, allowing a two-RBI double to tie the game 4-4. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Kendall Graveman came on and was able to post a scoreless inning, erasing a single and a walk during the inning.

Ryan Pressly entered to keep the stalemate going in the top of the ninth. He would get two strikeouts, but he allowed a single and a walk between them, setting up a go-ahead two-RBI single to blow the save. Blake Taylor entered to finish the inning, but not before allowing a two-run homer to make it an 8-4 game. Despite a leadoff solo homer by pinch-hitting Alex Bregman, the Astros come no closer, allowing the Mariners to avoid the sweep and salvage a game in the series.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off on Thursday before continuing this homestand with the opener of a three-game series with the Angels Friday at 7:10 PM Central. Framber Valdez (9-5, 3.08 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, while Los Angeles has not yet decided their starter.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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