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Astros 7, Mariners 2

The SportsXchange

SEATTLE - Something about Safeco Field brings out the best in the Houston Astros' bats.

The worst offense in the American League erupted for six runs off Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, all of them coming in the fifth and sixth innings, and the Astros rolled on to a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday to snap Houston's seven-game losing streak.

Seattle (7-12) has now lost seven in a row, the longest current streak in baseball.

The Astros (6-14) hit .295 while scoring more than six runs per game at Safeco Field last season, and the rare offensive onslaught continued in Houston's first 2014 trip to Seattle on Monday night. The Astros struggled to get much going against Hernandez until Matt Dominguez broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the fifth. Then a Seattle error helped open the floodgates in the top of the sixth.

Dominguez, Houston's regular third baseman, went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs while serving as the designated hitter for only the second time this season. Left fielder Alex Presley went 3-for-4, scoring twice while driving in a run with a triple into the right-field corner in the sixth.

Houston starter Dallas Keuchel (2-1) out-dueled Hernandez while allowing two runs on six hits over six innings of work. He struck out eight.

After Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager botched a routine ground ball for what would have been the first out of the sixth inning, Houston took a 3-2 lead on Jason Castro's sacrifice fly and then rallied to add three more runs with two outs. The four runs in the inning, all unearned, opened up a 6-2 lead for Houston.

Hernandez (3-1) gave up a season-high seven hits, four of which went for extra bases, but was only charged with two earned runs over seven innings of work. He threw 96 pitches and struck out four.

Houston first baseman Marc Krauss, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, gave the Astros their final run with a solo home run off Seattle reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in the eighth.

Including the Krauss home run, the Mariners have now been outscored 17-0 in eighth innings this year. Seattle struck out 14 times in the loss.

Hernandez and Keuchel of the Astros rolled through the first four innings of scoreless baseball before Dominguez put the first runs on the board with a two-run shot in the fifth. Dominguez's third home run of the season came on a 2-2 pitch from Hernandez, giving the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Houston's Keuchel kept the Seattle bats at bay by giving up only two hits over the first four innings, but the Mariners finally got to him in the fifth. After Seager and catcher Mike Zunino led off the inning with back-to-back hits, center fielder Abraham Almonte tied the score 2-2 with a one-out, two-run double into the right-field corner. Keuchel struck out the next two batters - his sixth and seventh strikeouts of the evening - to strand Almonte at second base with the score still tied at 2.

Notes: Houston RHP Scott Feldman, the Astros' Opening Day starter and most effective starter thus far, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, retroactive to April 18. He's been battling tendinitis in his biceps and will be eligible to return on or after May 2. Feldman, who signed a three-year, $30 million free-agent contract with Houston after spending last season with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles, is 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA over four starts with the Astros. ... RHP Collin McHugh, who has a career 0-8 record and 8.94 ERA, is scheduled to be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Feldman's scheduled start Tuesday. ... The Mariners shuffled their lineup on Monday, with LF Dustin Ackley moving up to second in the batting order and usual No. 2 hitter Brad Miller dropping to ninth. Miller went 3-for-23 on Seattle's recent road trip and was hitless in 10 consecutive at-bats heading into Monday's game. ... Seattle LHP James Paxton, who opened the season as the Mariners' No. 2 starter, will probably be out at least until late May, manager Lloyd McClendon revealed before Monday's game. Paxton is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lat muscle.
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