Bedard returns to Safeco Field for the first time since he was traded away two seasons ago by the Seattle Mariners , who continue this three-game set with the struggling Astros on Tuesday night.
Houston (1-6) did not need its fifth starter until now, so Bedard (0-0, 0.00 ERA) recorded the final 10 outs of an 8-2 win over Texas on March 31 in the opener for his first save in the fourth relief appearance of his career after 189 starts.
"I got lucky," he told the Astros' official website. "I don't think I'll do any more of that. I'll probably just stick with starting."
Now the left-hander will be in the familiar role of throwing the first pitch, this time against the team with which he went 15-14 with a 3.31 ERA over 46 starts during an injury-plagued tenure between 2008-11. Seattle traded Bedard to Boston on July 30, 2011, and he went 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA in 24 starts for Pittsburgh last year.
"It will be fun," Bedard said. "I was here for a couple of years and had fun. They are good fans, good people and good teammates. I still have good friends on the team, and it will be fun."
He'll try to help the Astros end a losing streak that has reached six after Seattle (4-4) won 3-0 in its home opener Monday.
Joe Saunders lasted 6 1-3 innings and combined with three relievers to scatter seven hits. Kendrys Morales went 2 for 3 with two RBIs in his home debut for the Mariners, and he's 8 for 16 over his last four games.
"He's a very professional hitter, a smart hitter," manager Eric Wedge said.
The Astros were blanked for the third time this season. They have struck out a league-high 82 times and have drawn 10 walks to tie the Chicago White Sox for the fewest in the majors.
Making matters worse, J.D. Martinez was pulled Monday for what he called a "mental error" after popping out in the fourth inning. Martinez, who was replaced by Rick Ankiel , had been batting cleanup for the first time.
The Astros will get their first look at rookie starter Brandon Maurer (0-1, 9.00), who will make his home debut for Seattle. His big-league debut was less than successful as he gave up six runs over six innings last Thursday in an 8-2 defeat at Oakland.
"I know what I need to learn now," Maurer said. "I know some things I need to work on, so I'll take that. I think I'll be a little more comfortable the next time."
The 22-year-old right-hander was much better in the spring, posting a 1.50 ERA to lead the Cactus League over seven appearances. He was the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher last season at Double-A Jackson, going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 24 starts.
|April 05, 2013||Travis Blackley||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|April 04, 2013||Josh Fields||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|March 31, 2013||Alex White||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Fernando Martinez||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|March 25, 2013||Josh Kinney||60-Day DL||Stress reaction, left shoulder|
|March 19, 2013||Brendan Ryan||Day-to-Day||Stiffness in neck|
SEATTLE (AP) -- The breakout Houston manager Bo Porter kept saying was coming finally showed up.
And it wasn't just a little offensive outburst by the Astros.
Jose Altuve drove in four runs and hit one of Houston's five homers, and the Astros broke out of their slump with a 16-9 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
After totaling nine runs during a six-game losing streak, the Astros scored nine in just two innings and won for the first time since opening night. The smallest crowd in Safeco Field history saw the Astros batter Seattle rookie starter Brandon Maurer (0-2) and continued their offensive onslaught against reliever Kameron Loe . By the time Loe was replaced after the third inning, the Astros led 11-0 and had 13 hits.
"It was only a matter of time," Porter said. "We've had confidence the whole time they could hit. It was unfortunate the games prior to tonight that we had not hit, but it was good to see."
Chris Carter homered twice for his first multihomer game. J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez also homered for Houston. The Astros entered the night with just two homers and 17 total runs all season.
The 16 runs and 22 hits were the most since August 2010 when the Astros won at St. Louis 18-4. Houston scored six off Maurer in the first as the rookie lasted just two outs. The six-run first was the biggest inning for Houston since Sept. 10, 2011, against Washington.
"We showed today what the team really has," Altuve said. "I guess the guys wake up today. I look at it that way."
All of Houston's starters had at least one hit except first baseman Brett Wallace who continued to struggle through a miserable start to the year, striking out four times and dropping his average to .048. Altuve and Carter had four hits, and Gonzalez was on base four times. Carter and Martinez both homered in the second and Gonzalez went deep in the third - all their first homers of the season. Altuve joined the trio with a two-run shot with two outs in the fourth off Seattle's Charlie Furbush . Carter capped the night with a homer in the top of the ninth.
"They did a good job of managing their at-bats and keeping the line moving. Even earlier in the game before we got the home runs, it was singles, doubles, line drives," Porter said. "It was what we talk about all the time."
Paul Clemens (1-0) got the victory for Houston because starter Erik Bedard didn't make it past the fourth. Bedard gave up just one hit, but was pulled after throwing just 66 pitches. Bedard started the season in the Astros' bullpen after throwing just six innings during spring training. The lengthy breaks spent in the dugout, his limited time during spring and a pitch count all led to the decision to end his night early.
Bedard was on a 65-pitch limit and missed qualifying for the victory against his former team in a game the Astros led 13-0 at the time he was replaced.
"I'd rather be healthy the whole year than just one outing. So I threw 65 and that's what it was," Bedard said.
Clemens made his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. He worked four innings and gave up five runs and six hits. Jason Bay homered with two outs in the seventh off Clemens, and Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse went back-to-back in the eighth. It was Morse's sixth homer of the season.
The Mariners will be left with decisions to make with Maurer and Loe. Maurer didn't pitch above Double-A Jackson last year, but was so impressive in spring Seattle put him in the rotation. In his two starts, Maurer has allowed 12 earned runs and has a 16.20 ERA. Houston made him pay with three straight singles to start the game, followed by Carlos Pena 's two-run double, RBI singles by Martinez and Matt Dominguez , and Altuve's two-run double - his second hit of the inning - that finally brought an end to Maurer's short night.
Loe has given up six homers already in four relief appearances.
"These are the days you just forget. I mean you take whatever good you can out of it," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Some good things happened for us at the end of the game, but from a pitching perspective we just had a very off day. Everybody was scuffling."
NOTES: Tuesday's crowd was 10,745. The previous low was 11,352 last season. The park opened in July 1999. ... Ibanez now has 67 career homers at Safeco, most of any player. ... Justin Maxwell singled in the first for Houston and has a six-game hitting streak.