The M’s bats, which have been as hot as any team in the majors, were stymied in a 5-2 loss to Houston.
It was one of those nights when there really seemed like no other way to describe it.
“Sometimes it literally is a game of inches,’’ said manager Scott Servais after a 5-2 loss Saturday night to the team with the best record in baseball, the Houston Astros, which snapped the Mariners’ season-high six-game winning streak.
And if that might be the oldest cliché in the book, it was hard to find one better to fit a game that for want of an inch here and a foot there might have gone Seattle’s way.
Maybe, for instance, if Mitch Haniger had lined up a few feet closer to the right-field line, he might have been able to hang on to a two-out, bases-loaded drive by Houston’s Brian McCann that scored three in the seventh inning and put the Astros ahead 5-1.
Instead, the ball fell out of Haniger’s glove as he hit the ground after diving, allowing all three runners — who took off on the pitch — to easily score.
“Everybody was holding their breath,’’ Servais said. “It seemed like the ball was up there forever.’’
Haniger said he thought he had a shot at it as it left the bat.
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“But I knew it was going to be close,’’ he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to have to dive or not. Obviously, I had to leave my feet. I just couldn’t bring it in.’’
Asked if he could have done anything differently, he shook his head.
“I mean, it’s easy to say now I should have been playing more towards the line, but I’m trying to cover as much ground in right center and down the line, so. …”
The hit came on what was the fifth straight slider thrown to McCann by Steve Chisek, who fell behind 2-0 then made it 2-2, the second strike coming on a call that McCann protested.
“I fell behind 2-0, that was the killer,’’ Cishek said. “If I was…