Astros use big 7th inning to get 7-5 win over Mariners
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston’s knack for scoring late in games helped the Astros to another victory on Wednesday night.
Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer early and Yuli Gurriel added a two-RBI single in a four-run seventh inning that lifted the Astros to a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Wednesday’s seventh-inning gives the Astros 118 runs in the seventh-inning or later, which tops the American League.
The victory ends a three-game skid for Houston and snaps a five-game winning streak by the Mariners.
The Astros led 3-1 after four, but had fallen behind 4-3 entering the seventh after the Mariners got a run in sixth and tacked on two more in the seventh.
Tony Kemp, who finished with three hits, got things going in the seventh with a single off Juan Nicasio (1-3) before a double by George Springer. The Astros tied it when Kemp scored on an infield single by Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve followed with a single to left field to send Springer home and put Houston up 5-4.
Dan Altavilla took over and struck out Carlos Correa before a passed ball by catcher Mike Zunino allowed both runners to advance a base. Gurriel then pushed his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a single to center field that made it 7-4.
“We didn’t try to do too much,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We got a couple base hits in a row. ... We all want to drive the ball out of the ballpark, yet (Nicasio) was making pitches we could make solid contact on. We could put the ball in play. We just had a really, good sound approach to beat him with singles, and it worked.”
Nelson Cruz, Denard Span and Kyle Seager all homered for the Mariners, who have a one-game lead over the Astros atop the AL West standings despite the loss.
“Our guys really competed their tails off all night,” manager Scott Servais said. “We’re down early, we come back, Span hits the big homer and we continue to put pressure on them. You know we played hard, we’ve been playing really hard. Just didn’t quite go our way.”
The Mariners had runners at the corners with two outs in the ninth inning, but Hector Rondon struck out Cruz to end it and get his first save.
Houston starter Lance McCullers allowed seven hits and four runs — three earned — in six-plus innings. Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc yielded seven hits and three runs in four innings.
“Command wasn’t crisp. Finish wasn’t crisp on pitches,” LeBlanc said. “Fastball, cutter, changeup were all off. Just inconsistent overall.”
Cruz gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead with his solo shot to the seats in left field with one out in the fourth inning.
Josh Reddick singled in the fourth in his return after being sidelined with an infection near his right knee since May 21. Gattis followed with his towering homer to left field to put Houston on top 2-1. Kemp hit a two-out single and scored on a double by Springer that bounced off the wall in left-center, to push the lead to 3-1.
Cruz hit the last of three straight singles to send home a run with one out in the sixth inning and cut the lead to 3-2.
The Mariners tied it at 3-all on the first pitch of the seventh inning when Span sent a 93 mph fastball into the seats in right field. Guillermo Heredia then drew a walk to chase McCullers, who was replaced by Chris Devenski (2-1).
An error by Devenski when he overthrew first base allowed Heredia to advance to third. The Mariners took a 4-3 lead when Jean Segura’s grounder rolled just out of reach of a diving Altuve and into the outfield for a single with two outs.
Seager homered for the second straight game with a solo shot off Joe Smith in the eighth.
Astros: Correa left Wednesday’s game before the eighth inning after experiencing discomfort on his right side on a swing on his at-bat in the seventh. He will be re-evaluated Thursday. “Obviously, you’re concerned after you’re taken out of a game with an injury. But we’ll see what the doc says and hopefully it’s nothing bad.”... C Brian McCann, on the disabled list with right knee soreness, had a second straight heavy work day on Wednesday and Hinch said he could come off the disabled list sometime this weekend.
It was a family affair for the Astros on the last day of the draft when they selected three players that are related to current or former players. Houston selected Correa’s brother right-hander J.C. Correa in the 33rd round before taking Bregman’s brother left-hander A.J. Bregman in the 35th round. They rounded out their family picks in the 37th round by selecting outfielder Antonio Cruz, who is the grandson of former Astros star Jose Cruz.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (6-1, 2.20 ERA) will start when Houston opens a four-game series at Texas on Thursday. Cole, who leads the AL with 116 strikeouts, has a four-game winning streak.
Mariners: Mike Leake (5-3, 4.71) is scheduled to start Thursday when Seattle starts a four-game series at Tampa Bay. Leake is 2-0 with a 2.91 ERA and 21 strikeouts combined in his last five games.
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