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Mariners homer again, but win streak snapped

@gregjohnsmlb
April 13, 2019

SEATTLE -- There was no magic on Friday night for the Mariners, though there was a late home run to keep their long-ball streak alive in a 10-6 loss to the Astros. Backup catcher Tom Murphy’s solo homer leading off the ninth extended Seattle’s Major League record run to 16

SEATTLE -- There was no magic on Friday night for the Mariners, though there was a late home run to keep their long-ball streak alive in a 10-6 loss to the Astros.

Backup catcher Tom Murphy’s solo homer leading off the ninth extended Seattle’s Major League record run to 16 straight games with a home run to start the season, though its six-game win streak was snapped in the series opener at T-Mobile Park.

“It’s obviously nice, but at the end of the day we always want to win,” said Murphy, who was acquired two weeks ago in a trade from the Giants.

The Astros had more firepower in their tank as grand slams by Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel powered the visitors to their seventh straight win.

Seattle has scored five or more runs in 15 of its 16 games, but it wasn’t enough this time as the Mariners slipped to 13-3, still tied with the 2002 club for the best start in franchise history.

Mariners left fielder Domingo Santana went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and has now driven in a league-leading 22 runs on the season. The 26-year-old totaled 20 RBIs last year in 85 games with the Brewers.

“Domingo has been unbelievably clutch driving in runs,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve had a lot of opportunities for him, which is great. The guys in front of him have been on base, but he gets it done. He uses the whole field to hit and that’s what the good RBI guys do.”

The Astros rode the long ball in this one, with Altuve’s slam off Mariners reliever Shawn Armstrong in the sixth proving to be the difference. George Springer also hit a two-run homer in the third off Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc and Gurriel shut the door with his own slam off rookie reliever R.J. Alaniz in the eighth.

“We saw some good things, we just couldn’t finish the innings off there,” Servais said. “The two grand slams obviously were the story of the game for them tonight.”

It was just the third time in franchise history Seattle has surrendered two slams in the same game, having done so in 1999 to the Red Sox and 2007 to the A’s.

LeBlanc was pulled from the game with two out in the fifth after straining his right oblique muscle. He was replaced by Armstrong, who wound up surrendering Altuve’s fifth home run in the past four games the following frame.

“Out of my whole outing, I think that was the only bad pitch that I threw,” said Armstrong, who was making his season debut after coming off the 10-day injured list prior to the game. “I threw it to the wrong hitter. He’s really good up there, really aggressive and when you leave a ball middle-middle like that, he’s going to make good contact on it in that situation.”

Houston has won seven straight games to put its record at 9-5, and now throws standout starters Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole against Seattle in the final two games of the series this weekend.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.