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Seattle Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi’s pitching, defense shutout the Houston Astros

Apr 29, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (18) pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Yusei Kikuchi allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings as the Seattle Mariners defeated the host Houston Astros 1-0 Thursday afternoon.

The game’s lone run scored on Taylor Trammell’s homer leading off the third inning as the Mariners salvaged the finale of a four-game series. It was only Seattle’s second victory in 21 games at Minute Maid Park since the start of the 2019 season.

Kikuchi (1-1), a left-hander, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but it was broken up when Carlos Correa doubled into the gap in right-center field with one out. Kikuchi made an outstanding defensive play for the second out on a Yuli Gurriel chopper off the plate — Kikuchi charged off the mound, made a sliding catch before the ball hit the ground again and popped back up to throw out Gurriel by a half-step.

He followed that up by getting Aledmys Diaz to ground to short to end the inning.

The only baserunners Kikuchi allowed through the first six innings were one-out walks to Alex Bregman in the first and Myles Straw in the third. Kikuchi struck out seven.

Mariners left-hander Anthony Misiewicz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth — the last out coming on a diving catch by left fielder Sam Haggerty on a Straw liner.

In the ninth, right-hander Kendall Graveman allowed a two-out single to Bregman on a soft liner over the shortstop’s head before center fielder Trammell made a sliding catch of a short popup by Correa to end the game. Graveman earned his third save of the season.

In the third, Trammell hit a 1-2 pitch from right-hander Luis Garcia (0-3) deep to right field. Astros outfielder Chas McCormick attempted a leaping catch at the wall, but the ball glanced off the end of his glove and into the second row of seats. It was the fourth homer of the season for Trammell, a rookie outfielder.

Garcia, who was in search of his first major league victory in his 10th career appearance, pitched well. He allowed one run on three hits in five innings, with no walks and six strikeouts.

The Mariners’ last 1-0 victory in which the lone run scored on a homer came five years earlier to the day, April 29, 2016, as Felix Hernandez beat Kansas City behind Seth Smith’s solo shot.

–Field Level Media