AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) -- After seeing one of their promising young prospects and a key veteran reliever get knocked around by the worst hitting team in the American League, the Seattle Mariners may be facing decisions about a spot in its rotation and bullpen.
Seattle rookie starter Brandon Maurer failed to make it out of the first inning, Kameron Loe was battered just as bad in relief and the Houston Astros rolled to a 16-9 win over the 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 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.
Maurer gave up six earned runs for the second straight start, leading to questions about whether he'll get a third at the major league level. Maurer was making the jump from Double-A Jackson last season to the majors this year and so far struggled with the transition.
Maurer took a line drive off his right thigh in the first inning.
"We have to make sure he's OK first. He got hit pretty good there on the hip so we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "I want to make sure he feels OK after sleeping on it and coming in tomorrow.
"You love his arm, you love his stuff. He had a great spring and deserves to be here."
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 J.D. Martinez and Matt Dominguez, and Jose Altuve's two-run double -- his second hit of the inning -- that finally brought an end to Maurer's short night.
"I was struggling a little bit, not making pitches, and they came out swinging," Maurer said.
Loe wasn't much better, allowing three homers in 2 1-3 innings of relief. Seattle will likely need help in the short-term after burning through four relievers, three of which threw at least two innings. And none of them were very effective.
"These are the days you just forget. I mean you take whatever good you can out of it," 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."
Altuve drove in four runs and hit one of Houston's five homers. Chris Carter homered twice for his first multihomer game. 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."
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.
Seattle got some offensive production late thanks to the long ball. Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez hit their first homers of the season and Michael Morse went deep for his sixth homer in the eighth inning. Morse leads the AL and is tied with Justin Upton for the league lead.
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.
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