HOUSTON — If nothing else, the Seattke Mariners needed innings Tuesday night from rookie Sam Gaviglio in his return to the big leagues in order to rest an overtaxed bullpen.
Gaviglio delivered six innings but, like the Mariners’ attack, not much else in a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Gaviglio (3-5) gave up five runs and eight hits, including two no-doubt homers to Evan Gattis.
“Sam has to live at the bottom of the strike zone,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve seen Sam a little bit sharper. He hung in there. We needed to get deep in the game with him.
“We needed to be a little bit patient with him tonight based on where our bullpen was.”
The loss snapped the Mariners’ five-game winning streak and dropped them back under .500 at 47-48. But Gaviglio did help the Mariners reset a bullpen that logged 181⁄3 innings over the four previous days.
Gaviglio’s rocky ride aside, the Mariners mustered little against Houston starter Brad Peacock, who improved to 8-1 by permitting only one run and three hits in seven innings.
“He was just mixing it up on us,” center fielder Jarrod Dyson said. “That’s it. He was doing a pretty good job of mixing his fastball with his off-speed, and he was able to keep us off-balance.
“We know it’s going to be a dogfight when we play against that team. That’s a hot team. They’re swinging the bat well. They’re pitching well. We couldn’t get them today.”
Peacock took advantage of umpire Dan Bellino’s liberal strike zone by painting the edges low, and low and away.
“You’ve got to give Peacock credit,” Servais said. “He’s been throwing the ball well, too. But we have been swinging the bats so well, you expect us to go out and throw big numbers up there tonight.
“We just didn’t get much going offensively.”
Luke Gregerson recorded a four-out save after Reymin Guduan yielded an RBI single in the eighth inning to Ben Gamel.
Emilio Pagan replaced Gaviglio to start the seventh and gave up one run in two innings. Pagan was the only reliever who didn’t pitch Monday when the Mariners opened the series with a 9-7 victory in 10 innings.
The Mariners recalled Gaviglio prior to the game from Triple-A Tacoma, where he logged the previous 10 days because there was no need for a fifth starter due to the All-Star break.
Gaviglio started the game by hitting George Springer with a pitch before yielding a single to Jose Altuve, but the costly mistake in the inning was a four-pitch was to Carlos Beltran with one out.
That moved Springer to third, and he scored on a Yuli Gurriel’s sacrifice fly to center for a 1-0 lead.
Gattis’ first homer came on Gaviglio’s first pitch in the second inning — a 433-foot bomb to left.
Houston appeared to score again in the third inning on another Gurriel sacrifice fly, but Dyson threw out Josh Reddick at third before Altuve crossed the plate.
It was a temporary reprieve.
The Astros pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning on a bunt single by Marwin Gonzalez and RBI doubles by Nori Aoki and Springer.
“I worked from behind,” Gaviglio said, “and they took advantage of it. I need to do a better job early of coming out and being sharp. Throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys.”
The Mariners got one run back in the fifth inning after Kyle Seager led off with a double. He went to third on Danny Valencia’s ground out and scored on Dyson’s infield single.
Dyson stole second and went to third on a throwing error by Peacock, but the Mariners settled for one run when Chooch Ruiz and Guillermo Heredia struck out.
Gattis’ second homer, a two-out drive in the sixth, restored Houston’s four-run lead at 5-1.