Ramirez gives up 2 HRs, Mariners lost 8th straight

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2014 at 1:58 am •  Published: April 23, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — Erasmo Ramirez couldn't come up with the big pitch when he needed it.

Twice in the early innings Tuesday night he had an 0-2 count on a batter before giving up a home run.

Those pitches were enough to do in the Seattle Mariners in a 5-2 loss to the Houston Astros, extending Seattle's losing streak to eight games.

Ramirez (1-3) didn't pitch badly overall, striking out eight over six innings and only allowing three hits. Two of those, however, were the home runs that gave the Astros a 3-0 lead after two innings.

"He did not make quality strikes when he needed to," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Particularly ahead in the count two strikes, and it cost him tonight."

Three batters into the game, Houston's Jason Castro just cleared the left field wall for a two-run homer, his fourth. Chris Carter followed in the second inning with a shot to left that landed in the second deck for his first homer of the year.

"That is something I have to work on," Ramirez said. "Try to make a better pitch in that situation, because it was hard to get to 0-2."

Seattle's Dustin Ackley tried to counter with his own deep ball to left in the bottom of the second, but Matt Dominguez made a leaping catch at the wall to end the inning.

The Mariners' offense did little to help Ramirez out. Houston starter Collin McHugh, making his season debut after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, struck out a career-high 12 and didn't walk a batter, giving up three hits in 6 2-3 shutout innings for his first win in 10 career starts.

"He was a little different than the scouting report we got. He was 94 (miles an hour) with a pretty good cut slider," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He threw exceptionally well tonight."

The Mariners only got one man to second against McHugh. Once he left with two outs in the seventh inning, Justin Smoak provided Seattle's only offense of the day with a two-run homer off reliever Raul Valdes.