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Offense can't solve McHugh in series opener loss to Astros

9/16 vs HOU by TOM HAYDEN

78-69, 9.5 GB in AL WEST, 3.0 GB in AL WILD CARD ----

The red-hot Seattle Mariners were narrowly defeated on Friday in Seattle in what was the series opener of a 3-game set with our American League West rival Houston Astros. You can't win them all, but the M's sure looked as if they were going to come Friday night having entered the game as winners of their last 8 games. Because Seattle had won their previous 8 games, this one didn't sting so much, mainly because of where our M's stand in these American League Wild Card standings. RHP Felix Hernandez took the ball on Friday night for the M's, coming off what was a great outing in his last start. Hernandez did;t have the best night however, as the Houston offense in which knows him very well picked up open that breaking ball pretty quickly. Offensively, the Mariners couldn't solve HOU RHP Collin McHugh, as they could not find a way a to plate a run in the ball game. With the loss, the Mariners have fallen to 78-69 on the season at now 10.5 games in back of the Texas Rangers who currently sit in first place in the American League Western division standings. Seattle is still right there in the Wild Card standings however, just 3.0 games back with a handful of games left to play in this 2016 Major League Baseball season. 

On the mound on Friday night at the Safe, RHP Felix Hernandez took the ball for what was his 22nd start of the 2016 season. Hernandez had earned himself a win in his previous 2 starts (9/10 at OAK, 9/5 vs TEX). King Felix's crown wasn't so shiny in this one as he gave up 6 runs (5 earned runs) on 8 hits in 4.1 innings of work. Hernandez walked 3 and struck out 3 in his outing, while giving up homers to HOU DH Evan Gattis (solo) and 1B Marwin Gonzalez (solo). Felix now has an individual W-L record of 11-6 on the season after suffering a loss here on Friday night with an ERA of 3.79 in just under 140.0 innings tossed so far this year. RHP Dan Altavilla (1.29 ERA) immediately came in for relief going 1.2 innings while giving up just 1 hit and striking out 2 'Stros in his outing. LHP Vidal Nuño (3.51 ERA) went 1.0 inning giving up nothing while striking out 1 Astro. RHP Arquimedes Caminero (3.68 ERA) went 1.2 innings giving up 1 walk but striking out an impressive 3 batters in his outing. SHP Pat Venditte (6.63 ERA) then finished up the ball game going 0.1 innings while striking out 1 and giving up nothing else. Relief pitching was certainly impressive again on Friday night despite this tough loss. 

Offensively on Friday night in the great Pacific Northwest, things were quiet. The Mariners combined to put just 3 hits for no runs off of HOU RHP Collin McHugh, and LHP Tony Sipp. The only Mariners to get hold of a hit were LF Norichika Aoki (.269 AVG) who went 1-for-3 with a single. Nori has been tearing the cover off of the baseball though, as he is batting a .400 AVG with an OBP of .444 in his last 7 games. RF Shawn O'Malley (.234 AVG) who pinch hit for Seth Smith in this one connected for a single as well going 1-for-1 at the dish in this one. 3B Kyle Seager (.288 AVG) connected for the 3rd and final Mariners hit of the night, also connecting for a single in a 1-for-3 performance at the plate. 

WHAT'S NEXT? : 

The Mariners will now look to bounce back to their winning ways come Saturday night at Safeco Field for Game 2 of this 3-game weekend series. LHP James Paxton (4-6, 3.76 ERA) and the M's will face HOU RHP Mike Fiers (10-7, 4.44 ERA). Be sure to catch all of the action on ROOT Sports NW for watching or listen in on 710 ESPN Seattle Radio as James Paxton will make what will be his 18th start of the season! 

This is Tom Hayden signing off saying Go Mariners! Stay #TrueToTheBlue as our M's #KeepFighting for the PostSEAson! 

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