MILWAUKEE — Adrian Houser earned the start Wednesday night with several strong relief outings in recent weeks for the Milwaukee Brewers.
J.P. Crawford helped make it a short night for the right-hander.
Crawford drove in three runs, Wade LeBlanc struck out six in five innings and the Seattle Mariners extended their winning streak to three games with a 4-2 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park.
Crawford put Seattle on the board with an RBI double in the first inning and then made it a 3-0 game with a run-scoring triple in the second.
Houser (2-2) allowed three runs and four hits, walking three and striking out four in two innings.
“That’s not who he is,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s going to have better outings.
“He didn’t have command of his fastball tonight from the get-go, and really throughout the two innings that he threw. He was unable to rein it in. It was the same miss — up and away to the lefty. … That was basically it. That forced him to throw a bunch of pitches to get through it. We were thinking of 60-70 pitches, and he kind of ate them up right away.”
Houser's chance came in part because right-hander Jimmy Nelson was moved to the bullpen after three rocky outings following an 18-month rehab from shoulder surgery.
“Very disappointing. They wanted me to start tonight and I just didn’t get the job done,” said Houser, who was making his third start this season. “I wasn’t able to attack how I wanted to attack and was struggling with some pitches and didn’t execute some stuff, and they took advantage of it.
“I think I was just a little too amped up tonight for some reason, and I was moving too fast. I couldn’t slow myself down.”
Houser will get at least one more start before the All-Star break and maybe two, since veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez had a setback in his comeback from a shoulder issue and won’t be ready until the second half.
Milwaukee had hoped to get Gonzalez back just before the All-Star break but he experienced some discomfort during a bullpen session over the weekend and will need some extra time before resuming his rehab process.
"He's going to continue to play catch," Counsell said. "Then we just need to string some good days in a row and then we'll get back out in the bullpen."
Freddy Peralta came on in the third inning and struck out five while allowing two hits and a pair of walks over four scoreless innings.
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Mariners opener Matt Carasiti needed just 18 pitches to get through his one inning. LeBlanc (5-2) took over in the second and kept Milwaukee off the board until Mike Moustakas led off the sixth with his 23rd home run.
Ben Gamel got the Brewers within 3-2 when he hit a blooper down the left-field line that bounced into left field allowing him to score on an inside-the-park home run — the first by a Brewers player since Tyler Saladino did it on May 14 of last season at Arizona and the first at Miller Park since Orlando Arcia against the Padres on June 17, 2017.
LeBlanc allowed five hits and a walk in five innings. With the right-handed-hitting Jesus Aguilar set to lead off the seventh, the Mariners turned to right-hander Austin Adams, who left the tying run stranded when he struck out Christian Yelich.
Crawford struck again in the ninth, driving in Mallex Smith with a two-out double off Jeremy Jeffress, and Rolenis Elias worked two scoreless innings for his 10th save of the season.
The Brewers have lost nine of their past 12 games, including four of six to open their current 10-game homestand.
"We haven't played well," Counsell said. "We just have to keep coming out and fight. We have four games left (on the homestand). We still have a chance to win some games."
Still, the Brewers remain just one game back of the NL Central-leading Cubs, who lost to Atlanta Wednesday night."
“We both need to help each other out,” said Gamel, referring to the offense and pitching. “We just have to put our best foot down tomorrow. We all have high expectations and big aspirations, and when things aren’t going our way, we have to fix the ship. We have to figure it out.”
From the infirmary
Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain was available in an emergency situation but sat out a second straight game after receiving a cryogenic treatment on his right thumb Tuesday. Manager Craig Counsell said he thinks Cain could return to action by Friday when the Brewers open a weekend series with the Pirates.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was held out of the starting lineup after suffering a minor injury to his right hand in the series opener. Manager Scott Servais said the move was precautionary and that Seager could return Thursday.
The Mariners go for the sweep on Thursday when right-hander Mike Leake (7-6, 4.54 ERA) faces off against Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson (3-2, 4.70 ERA).