SEATTLE (AP) — The Mariners are glad to get a win any way they can get one.
J.A. Happ earned his first victory with the Mariners as the Seattle bullpen held off the Houston Astros 3-2 Wednesday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
“A win’s a win,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Acquired from Toronto in an offseason trade, Happ (1-1) won in his third start. He gave up two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings, walking none and striking out five.
Reliever Yoervis Medina walked the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth before striking out Chris Carter, who had homered an inning earlier.
“Lost his slot and couldn’t get it back,” McClendon said of Medina’s struggles. “Fortunately, he was able to throw a hanging slider that was so bad he couldn’t hit it.”
Fernando Rodney escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam in the ninth for his fourth save in five tries.
Happ ran into trouble in the seventh after allowing a leadoff home run to Carter — the slugger’s first of the season — and single to Colby Rasmus. Happ then induced a double play and got out of the inning with a fly ball.
After retiring the first batter of the eighth, Happ gave way to the bullpen.
“Just being aggressive and trying to get ahead of guys is big for me,” Happ said. “Been able to throw strikes and get ahead of guys. That’s the way I’m successful.”
Roberto Hernandez (0-2) allowed three runs in seven innings.
The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first when Austin Jackson singled, stole second and scored on Nelson Cruz’s single.
Mike Zunino hit a solo home run in the third. Brad Miller singled home Logan Morrison in the fourth to give the Mariners a 3-0 advantage.
“In the first few innings the ball was kind of flat, but I was able to keep the ball down and started moving more and got comfortable,” Hernandez said through an interpreter.
Jose Altuve hit an RBI single with two outs in the fifth for Houston.
Carter, who tied for second in the majors last year with 37 home runs, hit his first of the season in the seventh.
Astros hitting coach Dave Hudgens was ejected in the middle of the fourth inning after Luis Valbuena was called out on strikes to end the top half of the frame.
“These are high intensity games,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Everybody has an opinion. We voiced our displeasure.
Up next, Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen (hyperextended elbow) is expected to start playing catch Friday and throw a bullpen on the team’s next road trip.
Seattle gets a day off before ace Felix Hernandez takes the mound Friday against the Twins. Hernandez looks to improve to 3-0 in his fourth start of the season, and is coming off a 12-strikeout performance on April 12.