- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - Lloyd McClendon felt J.A. Happ pitched well enough to get the win Sunday. It didn’t work out well for Happ, or the Seattle Mariners.

Happ allowed three runs in five innings, but it wasn’t enough for the Mariners, as the Houston Astros padded their advantage against the Seattle bullpen late to take the series finale, 6-2.

“I thought J.A. pitched behind the count early in the ball game,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “As the game went on, he started to find his groove and really, if you think about it, he pitched well enough to win today.”

Happ (3-4) rebounded from a rough start - the Astros scored a run in both the first two innings - to pitch an effective five innings, but was forced to exit after throwing 101 pitches.

“I felt fine, I felt strong,” he said. “I thought I had good stuff. I’m trying not to read too much into it.”

The Astros avoided a sweep with the win.

“Definitely a big, big win for us,” Rasmus said. “With the way the game was going early on, pitchers and hitters, we were just battling. A lot of good things going on, but not a lot of runs. That’s baseball. We needed it today. Big time.”

Houston’s rookie starter, Vincent Velasquez, struggled with his command, walking three batters in the first inning. Velasquez allowed Seattle a run to tie the score, but was able to escape too much damage by striking out Brad Miller to leave the bases loaded.

Velasquez ran into more problems in the fourth. Reliever Tony Sipp came on in relief to retire two straight to strand runners on the corners.

Velasquez allowed only two hits in 3 1-3 innings. But he walked four and gave up a run, and was pulled after throwing 93 pitches.

“That’s about as many pitches as you can throw in the shortest amount of time I think in probably in the history (of baseball),” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I will say, getting out of that first inning with one run, regardless of how he sort of got through it, was a real key in this game. Really kept us in the game, where they could’ve really opened it up.

Five Houston relievers followed Velasquez, combining to allow two hits in 5 2/3 innings. Will Harris (4-0) went 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the victory.

Colby Rasmus hit a two-run home run in the seventh and George Springer added a solo shot in the ninth to break open a 3-2 lead.

Logan Morrison scored twice for the Mariners. Nelson Cruz singled him home in the first and Robinson Cano had a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

UP NEXT

Astros: Brett Olberholtzer starts Monday night at the Los Angeles Angels.

Mariners: Seattle continues its eight-game homestand as ace Felix Hernandez starts against the AL Central-leading Royals.

TRAINING ROOM

Astros: Manager A.J. Hinch said 2B Jose Altuve still is not ready to start a game due to a sore right hamstring.

Mariners: Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat) said his body felt good Sunday, one day after throwing 56 pitches in 2 2-3 innings of his first rehab start at Class A Everett. McClendon said Iwakuma will need at least two more rehab starts before being reinstated from the disabled list.

SPRINGER SPARKING OFFENSE

Springer extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games and his ability to contribute offensively in a multitude of ways from the leadoff spot has impressed.

“He’s certainly setting the tempo for us very early for us in games,” Hinch said. “He’s a real threat, he can steal bases, he can do a lot. Having him be our energy, be at the top of the order during this stretch has been a big key. He jump starts us in a lot of different ways.”

HAPP’S RECORD ENDS

Happ had his club record-tying streak of allowing two runs or fewer in his first six home starts come to an end.

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