Punchless Astros Drop 3rd Straight
Seven Consecutive Home Losses

Correa: 0-for-6 since return
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
Perhaps the strategy is to wear out Edwin Diaz.

The Seattle closer has come in to get the final outs of all three games this series, including Saturday's 3-2 verdict at Minute Maid Park that tightened up the AL West race. The M's closed within five games of Houston while Oakland, a shutout winner on the coast, drew to 3-1/2 games.

Charlie Morton pitched a heck of a game but for one inning and that was enough to hang him with his third loss of the season. It was Tomball reserve catcher Chris Herrmann who struck the big blow, an RBI triple high off the right center wall in the fourth after Kyle Seager had plated Nelson Cruz with a double just before that. Hermann is in his seventh year in the majors but you may not know him since his career batting average is .204.

Ryon Healy, who had three of Seattle's ten hits on the night, snuck a single past Tyler White at first to drive in Herrmann with the go-ahead run as that was enough to hold off the punchless Astros.

Former Astro scrub Wade LeBlanc gave up two runs in the second on an RBI single by White - one of just five Houston hits.

The game came down to the bottom of the eighth with Alex Colome on the mound. Max Stassi beat out an infield hit then Tony Kemp punched a sinking liner into right center. Guillermo Heredia made a twisting, diving grab and then doubled off pinch-runner Derek Fisher at first base. The Astros proceeded to put two more runners aboard but Evan Gattis flew out to right to end the threat.

Then it was Diaz time. He put his seal of approval on the third straight win of the series. The All-Star has saved 45 of the Mariners' 68 wins this year.

Houston meanwhile has dropped seven straight home games and are 32-27 (.542) at Minute Maid while winning at a 41-18 (.695) clip anywhere else. They'll try to stop the slide in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. Central finale where Dallas Keuchel (9-9) will spar with winless Erasmo Ramirez (0-2). On paper, this looks like a win but so did Saturday's game.

More room was made on the Disabled List Saturday as outfielder Jake Marisnick was placed there with a left groin injury suffered on Friday. Super prospect Kyle Tucker was called up from AAA Fresno for his second trip to Houston this year. His first time didn't go as planned as he batted just .156 in 45 at bats to begin his big league career.

- Bob Hulsey