Kikuchi no-hit into 7th leads Mariners over Astros 1-0

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 29: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 29, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 29: Yusei Kikuchi #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 29, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Yusei Kikuchi took a no-hit bid into the the seventh inning, and Taylor Trammell homered and made a sliding game-ending catch, leading the Seattle Mariners over the Houston Astros 1-0 on Thursday to avoid a four-game series sweep.

Kikuchi (1-1) did not allow a hit until Carlos Correa doubled to deep right-center field with one out in the seventh.

“It was a full count so I decided to go and try to challenge him there," Kikuchi said through a translator. "I thought a walk would be about the worst thing I could do there so I wanted to be aggressive.”

Correa was stranded when Yuli Gurriel grounded out to Kikuchi and Aledmys Diaz grounded out to shortstop.

“I go into every start with the mentality of trying not to allow the opposing team a single hit,” Kikuchi said. “Since it was a close ballgame, that really allowed me to get focused and locked in today.”

That was the only hit allowed by Kikuchi, who pitched seven innings, struck out seven and walked two, throwing 61 of 95 pitches for strikes. Kikuchi walked Alex Bregman in the first and Myles Straw in the third inning, then retired 11 in a row.

Kikuchi, a 30-year-old left-hander from Japan, entered Thursday with a career record of 8-16 with a 5.42 ERA since joining Seattle in 2019.

“Awesome outing by Yusei Kikuchi,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Can’t say enough about his competitiveness -- that’s what really stood out to me. It doesn’t get any bigger than that to shut that team down and take a no-hitter into the seventh inning against one of the best lineups in the American League.”