Robinson Chirinos homered in a three-run first inning and the Houston Astros held on to defeat the host Seattle Mariners 4-2 Monday night.
Left-hander Framber Valdez (2-2) pitched four innings of scoreless relief to get the victory, the Astros’ fourth in a row.
Mallex Smith and Edwin Encarnacion hit solo homers for the Mariners, who lost their third in a row.
Seattle used a reliever as an “opener” for the first time this season and the move backfired.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin (0-2) allowed three runs on two hits and a walk.
Mariners left-hander Wade LeBlanc entered in the second and went the rest of the way, allowing one run on three hits in eight innings. He walked one and struck out two.
The M’s selected RHP George Kirby from Elon University with the 20th overall pick in the first-year player draft. Kirby (8-2, 2.75 ERA) was the Colonial Athletic Association’s pitcher of the year and led NCAA Division I in strikeout-to-walk ratio (17.8) and walk rate (0.6 per nine innings). … RHP Chasen Bradford was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain and RHP Matt Festa was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.
By the numbers
10: Runners left on base by the Mariners, compared to three for the Astros. The M’s were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Our take from Right Field
The strategy to use a reliever for the first inning or so didn’t work. If the M’s had started LeBlanc, they might have won.
The M’s continue their four-game series against the Houston Astros at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at T-Mobile Park. The Mariners’ haven’t yet announced their starter as they’re skipping LHP Yusei Kikuchi’s turn in the rotation. The Astros are set to send LHP left-hander Wade Miley (5-3, 3.25 ERA), a former Mariner, to the mound.