The first hit Sipp has allowed as an Astro came by way of a slow,
two-out ground ball off the bat of Michael Saunders. The Seattle
outfielder beat Sipp to first base to drive in two runs on an
infield single, breaking a seventh-inning tie and lifting the
Mariners to a 3-1 win at Safeco Field.
Saunders' hustle turned an inning-ending grounder into a two-run
single, as left fielder Dustin Ackley scored from third base and
designated hitter Stefen Romero alertly came around from second
"All I did was hit the ball soft and run," Saunders said with a
shrug. "Those guys were the ones that got the hits to start the
Sipp set a franchise record by retiring the first 21 batters he
faced before Saunders' at-bat. The single, which came on a 3-2
count, left the left-hander in a state of frustration.
"To get beat by an inch sucks," Sipp said. "Our main focus is our
pitch, and I feel like I executed that. I got beat to the bag, and I
definitely feel like I need to be there (in time). It's one of those
things that's going to eat at me for a while."
Mariners reliever Dominic Leone (1-0) earned his first career
victory by throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Seattle closer Fernando
Rodney retired the side in order in the ninth for his 12th save of
Houston starter Jarred Cosart (3-4) allowed three runs on five hits
and three walks over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six.
The Astros (17-31) lost their third game in a row, and they have a
grand total of five runs in those contests.
Saunders went 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBIs, but his most
important impact came by running hard down the line.
Cosart gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases in the
seventh, then struck out catcher Mike Zunino for the first out of
the inning. Sipp entered and got pinch hitter Cole Gillespie to pop
out weakly before Saunders worked the count full.
Saunders hit a ground ball to the right of first baseman Jesus
Guzman, who tossed the ball to Sipp covering at first. Sipp, who was
coming from the third base side of the mound, appeared to be there
in time, but Saunders slid the toe of his shoe into first base a
fraction of a second before Sipp touched the bag.
"I kind of got out of stride," Saunders said. "I was not even sure I
was going to reach the base, but it worked out."
Ackley scored easily from third base, and Romero alertly rounded
third and scored without a throw as Sipp was looking at first base
umpire Eric Cooper, hoping for the third-out call.
Saunders was ruled safe on the field, and a one-minute replay review
confirmed it, resulting in two runs and a 3-1 Seattle lead.
[to top of second column]
"It's tough to lose that way," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
"(Sipp) made the pitches to get out of it, but at the same time, if
we break right to the bag, I think we get (Saunders)."
Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano saw his five-game hitting
streak end, but he extended his streak of games reaching base to 29
in a row with an intentional walk in the seventh.
Mariners starter Roenis Elias overcame a rough start and wound up
allowing just one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out
six but walked four and did not factor into the decision.
"He really didn't have command of any of his pitches, for the most
part," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "His stuff was quality
stuff; he just didn't have command."
Second baseman Jose Altuve gave the Astros a quick 1-0 lead with a
home run on the first pitch of the game. Altuve hit a 370-foot shot
to left field.
The Mariners got that run back in the bottom of the first. Center
fielder James Jones and Saunders hit back-to-back singles, and
Cano's sacrifice fly brought in Jones from third to tie the score
Cosart was disappointed with his performance.
"I don't know what to say about the walks," Cosart said. "I've got
to watch the video and cut down on them."
NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the
game, the first time this season he led off a game with a homer. ...
Astros OF George Springer did not play Thursday, but he said that
the hip flexor injury he sustained the previous night is not
expected to be serious. ... Seattle's Nick Franklin started at
shortstop for the second time this season. Franklin, a second
baseman/outfielder who began his career as a minor league shortstop,
might get a longer look at the position because regular SS Brad
Miller is struggling. ... Houston starter Jarred Cosart has a 2.50
ERA against Seattle and a 5.30 ERA against everybody else this
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