Astros 3, Mariners 0

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SEATTLE (AP)—Wade Miller followed Roger Clemens’ big outing with one of his own.

Miller pitched the Houston Astros to their second straight shutout of the Seattle Mariners, combining with three relievers for a 3-0 victory Wednesday night.

One night after Clemens beat Seattle 1-0 for his 319th career win, the Astros earned their fifth shutout of the season.

Miller, who threw the first six innings, certainly enjoys pitching after Clemens.

“Usually we follow a win so we just try to keep it going,” Miller said. “Just watching him pitch and go after hitters is exciting.”

Miller (6-6), who had lost three of his last four starts, gave up six hits, struck out four and walked two.

“It’s been kind of up and down,” he said. “So this was a big start for me to come in here and do well. I had good stuff today. It’s just been a matter of my mechanics being on.”

Miller has no plans to change his style just because he follows Clemens in the rotation.

“He has a little different stuff than I do,” Miller said. “So it’s not like we’re throwing back-to-back with the same stuff.”

Jeff Kent blooped a single to center in the eighth inning, extending his career-best hitting streak to 24 games and tying the Astros’ record set by Tony Eusebio in 2000.

Kent seemed almost embarrassed to talk about his hitting streak. He went 1-for-3.

“These things just happen, especially tonight, kind of an ugly, bleeding hit out there,” he said. “(Freddy) Garcia was wearing me out. He was wearing a lot of us out. He was throwing high fastballs and high cutters up top, sinkers. We had a hard time catching up.”

The Mariners were blanked for the seventh time, most in the AL. They are batting .259, 13th in the AL ahead of only Tampa Bay.

“You can’t win if you can’t score. We know what we need to do,” Dan Wilson said.

The Astros took two of three in the series despite scoring only four runs. The last time Houston threw consecutive shutouts was July 10-11, 1997, at Pittsburgh.

The Mariners, who have not scored in 21 innings, also were shut out two games in a row Sept. 3-4 at Tampa Bay last season.

Dan Miceli, Brad Lidge and Octavio Dotel each worked one inning to finish the seven-hitter. Dotel got his second save in two nights and 11th in 13 opportunities this season.

Garcia (3-5) was the hard-luck loser. He pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, with a season-high nine strikeouts.

The Astros scored their runs in the third on RBI doubles by Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman, and Richard Hidalgo’s RBI single.

Mariners center fielder Randy Winn robbed Hidalgo of a home run in the sixth when he leaped over the fence to snare a long drive.

Seattle manager Bob Melvin was ejected in the seventh by third base umpire Dale Scott after Scott initially ruled Rich Aurilia’s drive to left was a two-run homer. But the other umpires overruled Scott and a heated argument ensured.

Melvin wasn’t available for comment after the game.

Aurilia was upset that Scott’s initial decision was reversed.

“The problem I have with it is the guy is about 100 feet away and can’t see it,” he said. “I don’t know why, in baseball, that is the only play you canreverse.”

Notes

LHP Andy Pettitte, on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left forearm, threw off the mound in the Astros’ bullpen before the game. But he isn’t expected to be activated Friday, when he is eligible to come off the DL. … The Astros will start RHP Pete Munro on Sunday at Milwaukee in place of Pettitte. After the game, they optioned RHP Brandon Duckworth to Triple-A New Orleans and purchased the contract of RHP Kirk Bullinger from New Orleans. Duckworth started and went only one-third of an inning in a 5-0 loss to Seattle on Monday night. … The Mariners were shut out 10 times last season. The team record is 15, shared by three teams; in 1978, 1983 and 1990. … Melvin was ejected for the third time this season. … Kent is tied with Carlos Lee of theChicago White Sox for the longest hitting streak in the majors this season.

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