HOUSTON (AP) The Seattle Mariners were feeling great after completing a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros on Sunday that moved them within 1/2 game of the defending champions in the AL West standings.
“It all comes down to the competing and our guys love to compete and we got after it today and that’s the only way you’re going to figure out a way to sweep a team like that at this time of the year,” manager Scott Servais said. “So we’ll keep rolling. Guys are feeling it right now. We’re playing great baseball.”
Eugenio Suárez hit a two-run homer and rookie Dominic Canzone had a career-high four hits as the Mariners built a huge lead early and held on for the 7-6 win.
The victory extends Seattle’s winning streak to six games and improves the team’s record against Houston this season to 8-2.
The Mariners currently hold the third AL Wild Card playoff spot with the Astros in the second spot and the Rangers atop the AL West with a three game lead over Houston.
For the Astros, a sweep by a division rival at home was cause for a team meeting after the game.
Veteran catcher Martín Maldonado said he and a couple of other players addressed the team following the loss.
“Like I said to everybody after the game, this is one of the most disappointing parts of the … season,” he said. “This is a slap in the face and a wake-up call.”
He said the Astros need to stop focusing on their opponents but instead on how they can play better.
“The key will be better energy in the dugout, not being satisfied after you lose,” he said. “Everybody who comes here wants to beat us and we don’t make them earn it. We just feel like we’re just giving it away.”
The Mariners jumped on Hunter Brown (9-9) early, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings to race out to a 6-0 lead.
Seattle starter Emerson Hancock pitched two scoreless innings before leaving with a right shoulder strain. He was relieved by Taylor Saucedo, who allowed five runs without getting an out to cut the lead to 1.
Dylan Moore, who also set a career mark with four hits, pushed the lead to 7-5 with an RBI single in the fifth.
Jeremy Peña doubled with one out in the sixth before Jose Altuve got a third strike on a pitch timer violation. Alex Bregman followed with an RBI triple that cut the lead to 7-6.
The Mariners intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez before Yainer Diaz grounded out to end the inning.
Servais was proud of his team for holding on after Houston got back in it.
“I can’t say enough about the competitiveness of our group,” he said. “These guys don’t quit.”
Matt Brash (9-4) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win and Gabe Speier struck out two in the ninth for his first save.
Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón had two RBIs each for the Astros, who went 5 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Brown struggled in his return to the rotation after pitching out of the bullpen his last time out. He allowed eight hits and six runs in just 2 2/3 innings.
Julio Rodríguez hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a wild pitch with one out. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead when Rodríguez scored on another wild pitch by Brown with two outs.
Brown then walked Teoscar Hernandez and Mike Ford before an RBI double by Canzone made it 2-0.
Josh Rojas singled to left field to open the second and stole second with one out. Suárez then sent a hanging slider from Brown onto the train tracks atop the left field wall to push the lead to 4-0.
Canzone doubled with one out in the third before Moore singled. Rojas grounded into a force out that left Moore out at second.
Rojas stole second base before a double by Brian O’Keefe scored two to make it 6-0 and chase Brown.
Saucedo came in to start the third and was greeted by a single from Peña. Altuve singled before Saucedo plunked Bregman to load the bases.
Alvarez then smacked a single on a grounder to right field to score two and cut the lead to 6-2.
Diaz doubled to right field to score Bregman and end Saucedo’s day. Trent Thornton took over and retired the next two batters before Dubón’s two-run double got Houston within 1.
Ford and Canzone hit consecutive singles to open the fifth before a single by Moore scored Ford to push the lead to 7-5.
J-ROD COOLS OFF
Rodríguez cooled off Sunday after going 4 for 6 on Saturday night to become the second player in MLB history with four or more hits in four straight games. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Saturday after his leadoff double.
Mariners: SS J.P. Crawford, who has been out since sustaining a concussion Aug. 11, is expected to return to the lineup Monday. Crawford played a rehabilitation game for High-A Everett on Saturday. “Everything was thumbs up there,” Servais said. “He was feeling good. The fogginess or whatever he had from the concussion seems to have gone away.”
Astros: OF Kyle Tucker was out of the lineup for a third straight game Sunday with an illness, but pinch-hit in the seventh inning. UP NEXT
Mariners: Seattle RHP Luis Castillo (9-7, 3.23 ERA) faces RHP Touki Toussaint (1-4, 4.44) in the first of three games against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
Astros: Houston RHP Cristian Javier (8-2, 4.49) opposes LHP James Paxton (7-3, 3.34) in the opener of a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.