Mariners Run Astros' Season Aground, 12-4

Fister: Long winter ahead
(c) Associated Press
Except to mathematicians, the Astros season ended ingloriously Wednesday afternoon in a 12-4 trouncing at the hands of the Seattle Mariners that all but secured a third-place finish in the AL West and also-ran status in the playoff hunt. True, three games in Anaheim remain but one can't expect a club that just endured a 2-5 homestand to sweep an Angels team on the road which just beat them three-out-of-four at home.

Their fate was sealed with the decision to start Doug Fister for the home finale. As nice a free agent pickup as it was, something is clearly wrong with a pitcher who has been roughed up every time he's pitched this month. Not sure what it accomplished for either the Astros or Fister's hopes of a nice free agent contract this winter to watch him get torched yet again.

Fister allowed five runs in just 1-1/3rd innings Wednesday, including a three-run homer to Robinson Cano in the first, meaning Fister ended the season on an 0-5 note personally with the Astros losing all of his last seven starts - none of which he threw beyond five innings.

Putting the offense in that big a hole to start was the key to defeat. Home runs by club leaders George Springer (his 29th) and Evan Gattis (his 32nd) weren't enough to offset the deficit before 21,187 midday fans.

With the short start, manager A.J. Hinch chose to empty the back of the bullpen with six relievers appearing, allowing seven more tallies. Only Tony Sipp and Brady Rodgers came through without giving up a run.

Historians will note the end to Tal's Hill and the end to Bill Brown's 30-years of broadcasting Astros games, but little else.

A Thursday travel day will precede the final weekend in Disneyland. Brad Peacock (0-0) will get his second crack at winless Daniel Wright (0-5) in the 9:05 Central Friday opener in Lalaland.

- Bob Hulsey