SEATTLE – Taijuan Walker tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts over seven innings, Leonys Martin and Kyle Seager hit solo homers and the Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros 3-2 on Monday night for their eighth win in 11 games.
Walker was overpowering in his fourth start of the season. The 23-year-old went seven innings and struck out the final six batters he faced, setting down the Astros in order in the sixth and seventh innings. He got Erik Kratz looking to end the seventh on a 97 mph fastball.
It was the third time in his young career Walker (2-0) has struck out 11.
Martin hit his fourth homer of the season just inside the right field foul pole leading off the third off Houston starter Doug Fister (1-3), and Seager followed an inning later with a solo shot to deep right-center field. It was Seager's 100th career home run.
Houston could be excused for the quiet night at the plate through the combination of Walker's pitching and fatigue. The Astros didn't arrive in Seattle until 4 a.m. PDT Monday after losing in 12 innings on Sunday night at home against Boston. The Astros lone run off Walker came on Carlos Gomez's RBI single in the second inning.
Carlos Correa had an RBI single off reliever Joel Peralta in the eighth to cut into the lead and Steve Cishek allowed two hits and a walk in the ninth but escaped the jam for his fifth save of the season.
Seager also made the biggest defensive play of the game in the fifth inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Carlos Correa chopped a grounder behind third base. Seager made a backhand stop and off-balance throw that one-hopped to first baseman Adam Lind and beat Correa by a step. The play saved one run and possibly a second.
Fister allowed only four hits but uncharacteristically struggled with his control. Fister walked a career-high seven after walking four total batters in his first three starts this season. Fister's previous career high was five walks in 2011 when he was pitching for the Mariners.
Only one of Fister's walks came back to hurt. Seth Smith's one-out free pass in the fifth moved Ketel Marte into scoring position and allowed him to score from second on Robinson Cano's base hit.
Astros: Houston is carrying 13 pitchers for the first time this season after recalling right-hander Michael Feliz from Triple-A Fresno. The Astros made the move late Sunday night to have an extra arm available for their six-game trip.
Mariners: Seattle placed reliever Joaquin Benoit on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on Monday. Benoit is expected to be out for at least two or three weeks. Seattle recalled Mayckol Guaipe to take Benoit's roster spot.
Astros: Dallas Keuchel (2-2) makes his fifth start of the season. Keuchel allowed six runs and 13 hits in his last start against Texas.
Mariners: Nathan Karns (1-1) makes his fourth start. He had a no decision in his last outing against Cleveland.