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.”
“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.”
Servais said in his first two seasons with Seattle, Kikuchi at times was stoic. But on Thursday, Kikuchi was occasionally mildly animated.
“He’s wearing his emotions on his sleeve a little bit more, and I’m a big fan of it,” Servais said. “I think it’s important to just be who you are, and the results will be better.”
Anthony Misiewicz pitched a perfect eighth, and Kendall Graveman a one-hit ninth for his third save, completing a two-hitter. Trammell hit his fourth home run of the season in the third inning, a ball that appeared to graze the glove of a leaping Chas McCormick at the right-field wall.
“I thought it was a 50/50 ball,” Trammell said. “If anything, I thought it was going to hit the wall. Then, when I saw McCormick going up, I was praying, like, ‘Look, dude, don’t do it to me.”’
With one on and two outs in the ninth, Correa lofted a fly 248 feet to center. Trammell sprinted and made a sliding catch. to center field, and Trammell got a jump that briefly made Servais very antsy.
“I think the ball was over second base, and I looked at Taylor and he hadn’t moved yet,” Servais said. “So, he had to put on the afterburners to get there, but he made a great recovery and a great catch.”
Seattle stopped a four-game losing streak. Houston lost for the second time in the last eight games. Houston starter Luis Garcia (0-3) allowed three hits and struck out six in five innings. The Astros bullpen held Seattle scoreless in four innings and has allowed just one run in its last 14 innings.
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