HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa's first hit since returning from a 36-game absence was noteworthy. Correa appeared to have helped put the Astros in line for their first home win in four weeks, as their lead in the American League West has started to decrease by the day.But as Houston was
HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa's first hit since returning from a 36-game absence was noteworthy. Correa appeared to have helped put the Astros in line for their first home win in four weeks, as their lead in the American League West has started to decrease by the day.
But as Houston was one out away from taking the series finale from the Mariners, closer Hector Rondon allowed a two-out solo home run to Ryon Healy in the ninth inning, paving the way for the Mariners to sweep four games the Astros with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Houston has now lost eight straight at home, tying the 111-loss team from 2013 for the longest skid in franchise history
The Astros' lead in the AL West is down to 2 1/2 games over the A's, with Seattle four back.
"We thought we caught a break a couple of different times during the day," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "It feels like a really bad weekend. … We'll be fine. This is not something we can't overcome. This is four games. That was a bad weekend."
Correa dribbled an RBI single in the eighth inning on a check-swing past Healy and scored a game-tying run, a play that seemed to show the Astros' luck was turning. Alex Bregman drove in the first run in Houston's three-run eighth, with Evan Gattis' sacrifice fly putting the Astros ahead, 3-2. In the top of the inning, Correa turned a spectacular double play with second baseman Marwin Gonzalez.
But the Astros' newest reliever, Roberto Osuna, allowed his first run with the club on an RBI double by the red-hot Mitch Haniger in the 10th inning, and the Mariners completed their first four-game sweep of the Astros in club history.
"Virtually every pitch we threw to Haniger this weekend was bad, it looked like, just because he was so hot," Hinch said. "He hit against the shift today, he pulled some balls down the line. It was a very good series for the top half of their order. Virtually every time it rolled over, it felt like they had a chance."
Correa's single was his first hit since being activated from the disabled list on Friday and was a sigh of relief for an Astros club with six players (five former All-Stars) on the 10-day disabled list.
"We know we have a great team," Correa said. "We know we're going to come through and get out of this scuffle and play great baseball once again."
Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs (one earned) over seven strong innings. The left-hander gave up a solo home run to Mike Zunino in his final frame.
The Astros' best chance against Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez came in the right-hander's final inning. With the bases loaded in the fifth, Kyle Tucker, who was recalled on Sunday, struck out. Martin Maldonado then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Ramirez started Sunday's game in place of Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who was relegated to the bullpen earlier in the series and did not make an appearance in relief. It was Ramirez's first start since April 27.
Gonzalez went 2-for-4 on Sunday for his fifth multi-hit outing in 10 games this month. In August, Gonzalez is batting .359 (14-for-39) with one double, four home runs and eight RBIs.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Three days removed from the 10-day DL, Correa's finest moment came defensively, courtesy of a double play with Gonzalez in the eighth inning. With the Astros down, 2-0, Correa dove to his left, stretched to make a tough grab and flipped the ball to Gonzalez with his glove before the second baseman turned and threw to first for the second out.
"Yeah, I was hyped, obviously," Correa said. "It's my first series back, so I want to be able to make plays behind our pitchers. Obviously it's been a while."
• Correa, Marwin turn stellar double play
HE SAID IT
"We just haven't played well at home. But the pitching staff, we're in it. That's afforded us a little bit. We're always going to be there, but it's just one of those phases where the pitching's kind of picked up the hitting. We'll get a couple of guys back and it might be the exact opposite. You never know through a long season." -- Keuchel
The Astros will begin a two-game series against the Rockies at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park after a Monday off-day. Justin Verlander, who lasted two innings and allowed six runs before being ejected Thursday vs. Seattle, will start, needing one win to reach 200 for his career. The Rockies will counter with right-hander German Marquez, who will make his first career start against the Astros.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.