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Houston offense jumps on Paxton, Mariners in series opener loss

7/15 vs HOU by TOM HAYDEN

SAFECO FIELD, SEATTLE, WA. ----

The Mariners got back to action on Friday night after the 2016 All-Star break, opening up what will be a 3-game series with our A.L. West rivals, the Houston Astros. The Astros came into Safeco on Friday night with a W-L record of 49-41, 4 games ahead of the M's in the American League West standings. Houston came to play on Friday night, putting up 11 hits and a pair of homers. LHP James Paxton got the start for the Mariners, his ninth start of the season so far. With the loss, the Mariners have fallen back down to an even .500 record at 45-45. The M's are now 8.0 games in back of the 55-38 Texas Rangers, and 4.0 games in back of these Houston Astros. 

Offensively on Friday night, the Mariners connected for 8 hits off of HOU RHP Doug Fister, RHP Michael Feliz, and RHP Chris Devenski combined. 3B Kyle Seager (.289 AVG) in a 2-4 night at the plate extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games. Seager had 2 hits for 2 total bases. 1B Dae-Ho Lee (.293 AVG) also had a 2-hit night for the M's. Lee went 2-4 at the plate while scoring a run for Seattle. Dae-Ho had 3 total bases and also connected for his fifth double of the season off of Doug Fister. The story of the night offensively for the Mariners was SS Shawn O'Malley's big hit. O'Malley replaced SS Ketel Marte in the top of the fourth inning after Marte left the game due to an ankle injury. Ketel would later leave the game in the seventh inning. Marte suffered the injury by sliding into third base awkwardly. Updates to come on his injury status on twitter @Mariners365, stay tuned. Shawn O'Malley (.224 AVG) went 1 for 2 at the plate with a line drive to left field in one of his at bats for a double. O'Malley drove in a pair of runs for the M's on the hit. Shawn now has a total of 7 RBI on the season for the Mariners. Seattle scored their other run after Dae-Ho Lee scored on a passed ball wild pitch from HOU RHP Doug Fister. 

On the mound on Friday night, LHP James Paxton took the ball for the ninth time this season for the M's. Paxton went 5.0 innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits (all earned runs) while striking out 1 and walking only 1 Astro. Paxton gave up a leadoff solo HR to HOU RF George Springer. James suffered his fourth loss of the season on Friday night, and now has a W-L record of 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 4.56. In relief of Paxton were LHP Vidal Nuño (3.25 ERA), RHP Tom Wilhelmsen (9.12 ERA) and RHP Nathan Karns (4.47 ERA). Relief combined to give up only 1 run on 2 hits (earned by Wilhelmsen) while striking out 5 and walking 0. 

WHAT'S NEXT? :

The Mariners will now look to bounce back from a tough start to the second half of the season loss as they host the Astros back at Safeco Field in Seattle for Game 2. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (9-6, 4.06 ERA) who has been pitching very well lately will make his 19th start of the 2016 season. Iwakuma and the M's will take on HOU RHP Lance McCullers (4-3, 3.60 ERA). Be sure to catch all of the action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. First pitch start time- 1:10 PM PAC, 4:10 PM ET!

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue. 

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