SEATTLE -- An offense that has struggled for the first week of the season found itself dealing with its first shutout in Monday's series-opening 6-0 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field, but it's clearly too early for anyone to hit the panic button.
The Astros have scored 21 runs and have 63 hits in eight games, which isn't what anyone expected after they beefed up their offense this winter by acquiring Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. The biggest bright spot Monday was Carlos Correa, who had three singles before striking out looking with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
The pitch to Correa by Mariners reliever Dan Altavilla was low in the zone, and Correa expressed some disbelief in the call but didn't argue. Beltran popped out on the next pitch, and the Astros' last best chance to score was done. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
"I thought it was down," Correa said of the pitch. "I came back in and looked at it, and I still think it was down, but I do think it's a tough call for the umpire as well, a guy throwing 99 and 90-mph slider. Close call. Obviously, it's a tough call. I didn't say anything. I just walked back to the dugout. I was [angry] at myself.
"You have three strikes to work with, but you're trying to battle out there, trying to grind every single at-bat, especially with bases loaded one out. When it doesn't go your way, you get a little bit [angry], but it was a tough call for the umpire. You think it was down, but when you're there and the game speed is so fast, it's tough to call."
The Astros had managed only two singles -- both by Correa -- through six innings against Seattle lefty James Paxton before Correa and Beltran singled to start the seventh. Paxton came back to retire Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez and Reddick in order.
"Again, this is a tough pitcher today," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had our hands full with him. I like how we bounced back a bit late. We didn't come up with the big hit, a call didn't go our way against Correa. All in all, we haven't warmed up to the point of piecing a lot of hits together. We look up there, and there are some guys that have some hits. We're not swinging the bats all that poorly, but we're not getting the big hit we're going to get here pretty soon and bust out."
The Astros smoked three balls in the ninth inning off reliever Evan Scribner but had three line-drive outs. Gattis' was 104.7 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™, Gonzalez's was 103.7 mph, and Reddick lined out at 107.7 mph to end the game.
"We're going to be a good offensive club," Hinch said. "This is eight games of a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, but our offense won't be a problem."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.