HOUSTON -- Minute Maid Park is giving the Astros a problem.With Friday's 5-2 loss to the Mariners, Houston has lost six home games in a row. That skid is the Astros' longest of its kind since April 2014, months before manager AJ Hinch took the reins in Houston.The Astros (73-44),
HOUSTON -- Minute Maid Park is giving the Astros a problem.
With Friday's 5-2 loss to the Mariners, Houston has lost six home games in a row. That skid is the Astros' longest of its kind since April 2014, months before manager AJ Hinch took the reins in Houston.
The Astros (73-44), who coasted to a 6-2 record on their most recent road trip to the West Coast, have not won a game at home since July 14 against the Tigers.
Houston had plenty of positives in Friday's loss, none of which sparked a win. Carlos Correa returned from the disabled list. Gerrit Cole soaked up more than seven innings of work one day after the Astros' bullpen needed to complete seven innings because of Justin Verlander's ejection.
"Just disappointing I couldn't finish it off," Cole said.
Cole spun 7 1/3 innings and allowed four runs in a lengthy effort that could have been worse, if not for Jake Marisnick's tremendous diving grab in center field in the sixth inning with two Mariners on base.
"The catch was one of the best you'll see," Hinch said.
• Marisnick backs Cole with incredible diving grab
Cole exited in the eighth inning with two on base and newly acquired Thomas Pressly entering with the game tied at 2. Pressly loaded the bases by hitting Jean Segura on the wrist and then allowed a go-ahead two-run double to Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Pressly has previously allowed one run in his first 4 2/3 innings with Houston, striking out five.
"If you've seen Pressly throw lately, he's been pretty good," Hinch said. "He hits Segura and gets into a three-ball count with Cruz, really put him in a little bit of a jam."
"I just got beat tonight," Pressly said. "There's really nothing to it. I left the pitch middle-middle, and he capitalized on it. Not being able to throw my breaking ball for a strike kind of hurt me."
The Astros' bullpen has allowed a run in one of its past 10 games, with the only instance being Thursday's home loss to Seattle.
Tony Kemp, who is 4-for-7 in the first two games of this series, and Alex Bregman delivered RBIs in the fifth inning against Seattle starter Mike Leake, who threw six innings and took a no-decision.
• Despite Friday's loss, the Astros have still posted their best 117-game start to a season in franchise history at 73-44.
• Cole struck out five Mariners and set a new career high for strikeouts in a season with 207. He is tied with Chris Sale for the most in the American League. Cole has made 24 starts this season and surpassed his 2015 total of 202, which he needed 32 outings to reach.
Right-hander Charlie Morton will get the ball for Game 3 of the Astros' four-game series vs. the Mariners at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. Morton set a new career high for strikeouts in a single season (167) on Monday at San Francisco. Over two starts this season against Seattle, Morton has allowed two runs over 13 innings. The Mariners will counter with lefty starter Wade LeBlanc. Seattle is 12-6 in games LeBlanc has started this season.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.