- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon emphasized patience, but admitted that the lack of offensive production from his struggling club is wearing thin.

In their 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night, the Mariners entered the ninth inning with just one run on four hits before two solo homers narrowed the gap.

Since winning on opening day, the Mariners can’t seem to get back to .500 ball, and a lack of scoring is the main reason.

The Mariners have had three runs or fewer in five of their last six games, and McClendon is getting antsy.

“We’ve got to get going, do whatever we’ve got to do to shake it up and start swinging the bats better,” McClendon said. “You score two or three runs, you’re not going to win ballgames.”

Once again, untimely hitting for Seattle kept the Mariners from capitalizing on a solid pitching performance. Seattle entered Friday with a 1.67 ERA in the last nine games from its starters, winning five.

While Roenis Elias (0-1) was hit hard early, he settled down later for his first quality start of the season.

Evan Gattis, Jake Marisnick and George Springer all homered for Houston.

Josh Fields (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win, striking out four of the five batters he faced. Luke Gregerson gave up solo homers to Nelson Cruz and Logan Morrison in the ninth, but finished up for his fifth save.

Gattis hit a two-run homer off Elias in the first inning, and Marisnick’s solo shot made it 3-0 in the second.

Robinson Cano had an RBI double in the top of the third to get the Mariners on the scoreboard, but Morrison regained Houston’s three-run lead with his solo homer in the eighth.

Samuel Deduno, 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts against Seattle, gave up a run and three hits in four innings.

The Astros got to Elias early as Jose Altuve led off the first with a walk and scored on Gattis’ third homer of the season two outs later.

“He did a nice job, just made a horrible pitch with two strikes to Gattis,” McClendon said. “You don’t do that you might with a ballgame. But he pitched extremely well.”

Marisnick hit his third of the season into nearly the identical spot of the left-field seats with one out in the next inning.

Elias gave up three runs and six hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out eight.

Springer’s homer in the eighth was his fourth of the season.

Cruz then hit Gregerson’s first pitch above the wall in left field for his 11th of the year. And after Kyle Seager flew out to left, Morrison lined his second of the season to right field.

“It’s always good to get runs off their closer,” Morrison said. “It goes to show that we’re not going to quit. … If anything, it puts a little doubt in their mind.”

Gregerson then got Brad Miller on a grounder and struck out Rickie Weeks to end the game.

The Mariners lost for the fourth time in their last five games against Houston, falling to 10-13 overall.

“I’m not going to, after 24 games, say the season is burning,” McClendon said. ” That’s not every responsible, and that’s certainly not the message that I’m going to send to my team. Do we need to work and do we need to get some things done? Yeah.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat) is still three to four weeks away from a return, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. Iwakuma is throwing long toss and making progress as he rehabs in Seattle. … RHP Tom Wilhelmsen threw a bullpen session Friday for the first time since going on the disabled list on April 13. He is scheduled to throw another session Sunday.

Astros: SS Jed Lowrie, who suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb Monday, had surgery Friday in Houston. He is expected back after the All-Star break. … Double-A Corpus Christi 3B Colin Moran, Houston’s No. 6 prospect, suffered a non-displaced jaw fracture on Thursday night.

ALTUVE STREAKING

With two singles on Friday night, Altuve has had nine consecutive multi-hit games, tying Jesus Alou (1969) and Billy Hatcher (1987) for the longest such streak in Astros franchise history.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Taijuan Walker (1-2, 6.86 ERA) allowed one run in each of his last two starts after giving up 14 in his previous two starts. Walker is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against Houston.

Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (3-0, 2.92 ERA) tries to continue his streak of 10 consecutive winning decisions, the longest active winning streak in the majors. In his first meeting of the season with Seattle on April 21, McHugh allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings.

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