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Keuchel loses control; Astros fall to Mariners 9-8

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm •  Published: May 3, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) — Dallas Keuchel was in control, taking a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning and a 2-1 lead in the seventh.

Then his control vanished.

Justin Smoak homered to cap an eight-run burst in the seventh inning, leading Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners over the Houston Astros 9-8 Saturday night

Keuchel (2-2) left after walking the first three batters of the seventh. Jose Cisneros walked Mike Zunino, forcing in the tying run, and Michael Saunders followed with a two-run double.

"Out of the gate, I didn't really feel too well, but I had some early contact. Some groundball outs kind of got me in a groove," Keuchel said. "It feels like a train hit me in the seventh. It's not like me to walk three guys in a row. I felt like a couple of those pitches were close, but the umpire has the final say."

The left-hander had not allowed more than three runs in any of his previous four starts.

"I just felt kind of sluggish," Keuchel said. "There are a few games every once in a while where you feel sluggish out of the gate, and I was thankful to make it through the first couple unscathed."

Keuchel allowed four runs and four hits with three strikeouts. Through six innings, he hadn't issued a walk.

"Lost command and wasn't able to minimize the damage and they were able to get big hit after big hit," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Dallas Keuchel is a pitch-to-contact, control-and-command guy. If someone was to ever ask me do you think Dallas Keuchel would walk three people in a row, the answer would be no 100 out of a 100 times."

Stefen Romero and Robinson Cano added RBI singles, Kyle Seager doubled in run and Smoak's two-run homer off Raul Valdes made it 9-2. The inning was Seattle's highest-scoring since getting eight in the second at Texas on May 30, 2012.

McClendon was ejected in the seventh after the walk that loaded the bases. Catcher Jason Castro went to the mound to talk to Keuchel, and when he began walking back to the plate, McClendon was tossed by plate umpire James Hoye for arguing.

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