Walks bite bullpen as Astros fade in Seattle

Peacock goes five scoreless; Grossman loses HR on review

Walks bite bullpen as Astros fade in Seattle

SEATTLE -- Astros interim manager Tom Lawless, who's admittedly not big on matchups, had the one he wanted in the eighth inning Monday night with left-hander Tony Sipp facing left-handed batter Brad Miller with two runners on base in a tied game.

The result was not what Lawless envisioned, with Miller lining a pitch over the head of right fielder Jake Marisnick for a two-run triple that propelled the Mariners to a 4-1 win over the Astros in the series opener at Safeco Field.

"It was down, probably could have located side to side a little bit more," Sipp said. "I wasn't disappointed about the pitch. I actually threw a couple of sliders I thought were strikes earlier. I tried to keep everything down, but obviously it didn't work my way tonight."

Three of the four runners who scored for the Mariners reached via walk, including the first two runs that scored on Miller's hit in a three-run eighth inning. Miller scored from third on Austin Jackson's single to make it 4-1.

"I was just trying to be aggressive and get something up that I could drive," Miller said. "I was able to lay off two sliders and let [pinch-runner James Jones] get to third and took a good hack at a fastball. I think I gave myself a fastball in the zone because I had some good takes. I just wanted to get the head out and drive something."

Astros starter Brad Peacock threw five scoreless innings and gave up four hits and two walks while striking out six batters. Hernandez threw six scoreless frames for the Mariners, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out eight batters.

"I threw a lot of pitches, but those guys over there had some good ABs and fouled some pitches off and ran my pitch count up," Peacock said. "I felt good the whole game and just tried to battle out there."

Darin Downs relieved for the Astros to start the sixth and gave up a run when he walked Logan Morrison, who scored on a two-out single off the bat of Miller against Jorge De Leon. Seattle's lead didn't last very long.

Robbie Grossman appeared to have tied the game with one out in the seventh with a homer to right field, but replays showed the ball was brought back over the fence by Michael Saunders' glove and hit the ground. The umpires initiated a review of the home run call and Grossman was awarded a triple, which led to Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon's ejection.

"I think so he was already going past second base when it happens," Lawless said. "I think it's probably a judgment call on their part, and I think it was in our favor. And I think that was the right call."

Jose Altuve, who went 0-for-3 with a walk to snap his career-best 14-game hitting streak, followed with a sac fly to shallow right field, with Grossman sliding home just before the throw to tie the game at 1. Altuve was up again in the ninth representing the tying run and battled Fernando Rodney for nine pitches before lining out, and Dexter Fowler grounded out to end the game.

"The walks caught up to us tonight, but we battled and we battled and we battled," Lawless said. "Facing Hernandez out there, he's a tough cookie to crack. To get him out of the game in the sixth inning, it's a big credit. It's a 1-1 ballgame going back at the end. Like I said before, if we can be in those ballgames late in the ballgame, it gives us a chance to win, and that's what we had tonight."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.