Hernandez nears return, Walker goes to DL for Seattle

by Sadie Mccarthy Julio 10, 2016, 1:38

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, right, looks on as Houston Astros' Luis Valbuena, left, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, July 5, 2016, in Houston. Houston added another run in the second on a laser solo homer into left field by Evan Gattis and a fifth run in the third inning on an RBI triple from Gomez off the wall above Tal's Hill in center.

Walker yielded five hits and five runs before leaving after four innings with discomfort in his right foot. Luke Gregerson pitched a ideal eighth and Will Harris did the same in the ninth for his eighth save.

The Mariners twice presented Walker with one-run leads but, each time, he quickly squandered the advantage.

The replay ruling was that a fan did touch the ball but that it would have struck an area that would have been a home run. McCullers covered and took the short toss from Castro to tag out Martin at the plate.

"I feel like I just haven't had my best stuff", he said after Tuesday's shortened start.

Springer got things going for the Astros with a double in the first before a single by Marwin Gonzalez. In three career appearances against the Astros (one start), LeBlanc has not posted a decision while recording a 1.69 ERA.

It was a disappointing end to a miserable three-game series in Houston where the Mariners were swept and fell to 43-42 on the season. Given the Mariners' left-handed-leaning lineup (including regulars Seth Smith, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Adam Lind), Keuchel would seem perfectly positioned to enjoy a rebound.

"Taijuan obviously still isn't quite right", manager Scott Servais conceded. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it done".

However last year's AL Cy Young Award victor will acknowledge that he's starting to feel more like himself than he did during his struggles early this season. "Probably one of the better breaking balls we've seen all year". Fiers has won three straight and has pitched 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings at home.

"I don't feel like I'm on a roll", said Keuchel, who is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA over his last four starts - all Astros wins. "I just made a mistake pitch and he did what he's supposed to do with it".

Luis Valbuena's booming 424-foot homer with two outs in the second erased a 1-0 edge from earlier in the inning when Dae-Ho Lee scored on Chris Iannetta's ground out.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez will throw a simulated game Wednesday.

The Houston Astros entered Wednesday's game against the Seattle Mariners as winners of eight straight against A.L. West.

Hernandez, who has been on the disabled list since June 1 with a strained right calf, threw 45 pitches to Shawn O'Malley before Wednesday night's game.

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