The Mariners are still searching for consistency from a trio of young hitters, and that is part of the reason Seattle has won consecutive games just once in 2013.
Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak are all hitting near .200 through 22 games. In Monday's 7-1 win over Houston, they combined for six hits, four RBIs and three runs. It did not carry over, and the Astros won Tuesday, 3-2, as the trio went 3-for-12.
Montero crushed his first home run of the year Monday, a 441-foot three-run blast that is one of the longest far this year in Minute Maid Park. On Tuesday, he was hitless in four at-bats to drop his average to .208.
"It's hard sometimes, because it's baseball," Montero said. "But when we get confidence, we get back on track again, everything is going to get better. I'm very sure of that."
Seattle won its first two games of the season, but has not strung together consecutive wins since. The Mariners will try to win their first road series Wednesday with Joe Saunders scheduled to start.
Saunders has not pitched well away from home, though, with an 11.42 ERA in two road losses. The left-hander has not made it past the fifth inning in either of his road outings.
The Astros ended a three-game losing steak Tuesday and will turn to Lucas Harrell as Houston searches for its first series win at Minute Maid Park.
Harrell beat the Indians at home Friday, his first victory and the second home win for the Astros. The right-hander has not recorded an out in the seventh inning this season and has been hurt by walks. He has walked 13 against 15 strikeouts in four starts.
The Astros are 2-8 in their last 10 games, including 2-3 on a six-game homestand that ends Wednesday.
Mariners: Peguero adds to outfield mix
The Mariners recalled Carlos Peguero from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday to bolster their outfield, with Franklin Gutierrez's heading to the disabled list for the fifth time in the last three years.
In 17 games with Tacoma, Peguero hit .246 with two homers and 14 RBIs. He is likely to be a backup at the corner-outfield spots. In 63 games with Seattle over the past two seasons, Pegeuro hit .191 with eight homers and 26 RBIs. He's been working on better pitch selection in the Minors and walked 11 times in 17 games.
"Each of the times I've come up and been sent back down, it's something to learn," Peguero said. "It's just understanding what I have to do as a player, understanding why they're bringing me here and what kind of player I am and show them that I'm learning each and every day."
Gutierrez strained his hamstring in the fourth inning Monday. He will have an MRI exam Thursday in Seattle.
Astros: Dominguez returns to lineup
Matt Dominguez went 2-for-4 on Tuesday after he sat Monday as a precaution after he was hit in the left elbow by a pitch Sunday.
The third baseman was hit by Cleveland's Chris Perez in the ninth, but an X-ray Monday showed no fracture to his left elbow.
"He was actually fine," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Dominguez's condition Monday. "But a guy getting hit in the elbow and you have an opportunity to give him a day of treatment and an extra day, we just took advantage of that. Matt will be fine moving forward."
While Dominguez is OK, center fielder Justin Maxwell is not. He was removed from Tuesday's game after he was hit on his left hand by a pitch in the third inning, and following the game was placed on the disabled list.
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is 3-for-7 (.429) in his career against Saunders with one RBI.
• The Mariners have scored 70 runs, the fewest in the American League West.