Chapman shines but Astros fall to Mariners

Chapman shines but Astros fall to Mariners
August 30, 2013, 12:00 am
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Kevin Chapman pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Thursday.

(USA Today Images)

The Astros didn’t have many opportunities to score against Seattle on Thursday, resulting in a 3-2 loss to the Mariners in the opener of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.

One Astros player who took advantage of his opportunity was left-hander Kevin Chapman, who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the longest outing of his brief major league career.

“He’s shown that he’s going to attack when he comes into the game,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “He does a great job of mixing and matching. He throws his secondary pitches for strikes. He’s not afraid to throw his slider and his breaking stuff when he’s behind in the count.

“And sometimes when he gets behind in the count he’s not afraid to challenge them with his fastball. He locates his fastball well and it allows him to have a lot of success.”

Thursday was Chapman’s 12th appearance in the major leagues and he’s started his career without allowing an earned run (8.2 innings) in those 12 games, which ties a franchise record. Left-hander Tom Martin didn’t allow an earned run in his first 12 appearances (11.2 innings) in 1997.

“Ever since he’s been up he’s been someone we can count on,” said Astros starter Jordan Lyles (6-7), who took the loss on Thursday. “He’s done a good job. Our bullpen has had its ups and downs.

“It’s refreshing for us to have a guy like that we can lean on. We can go lefty-lefty or we can extend him like we did tonight.”

In 2 1/3 innings, Chapman allowed only one hit with three strikeouts and one walk. He faced eight batters. On right-handed hitters Chapman was throwing fastball away, and to the lefties he was mixing his fastball and slider.

Porter liked the way both Chapman and Lyles battled. Lyles allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. Over his last three starts Lyles is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA. Lyles allowed a first-inning home run to Nick Franklin and a two-run home run to Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth inning that made a winner out of right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-1).

For the Astros, L.J. Hoes scored from first base on a Jason Castro double to deep center in the fourth inning and their second run came on a leadoff home run from Brett Wallace in the fifth inning, his 12th of the season.

Chapman relieved Lyles to start the seventh. Chapman retired the side in order and for the third out, Chapman retired catcher Humberto Quintero. Chapman was acquired from Kansas City in a 2012 deal that included Quintero.
On Thursday Chapman showed he’s not just a situational pitcher. He can go extended innings, and be successful.

“It’s important in that it shows I’m versatile and whatever they need, I can do,” said Chapman, who at Oklahoma City this year pitched 2 2/3 innings in his longest outing. “It’s different. But I’ve done this multiple times this year in Triple A.

“I haven’t done this in awhile. It was a little tiring but I’ll get a day or two off so I’ll be able to recover.”