The Astros pursuit of the American League’s second Wild Card spot got a bit of a boost Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park with an 8-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Houston’s win, coupled with Baltimore’s loss in Toronto brings the Astros within 2.5 games of the Orioles, and keeps its elimination number at three, though for much of the night it looked like that number would fall.
Seattle led 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, and after Evan Gattis struck out following back-to-back singles from Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, it looked like Yuli Gurriel grouded into an inning-ending double play, but Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte sailed the throw, allowing Altuve to score, and keeping the inning alive. After Tony Kemp walked, the Astros got a contribution for an unexpected source.
Alex Bregman had not played in 13 days due to a strained hamstring, but A.J. Hinch turned to him, and the rookie came through with a game-tying RBI single. Then Jake Marisnick reached on an Adam Lind error after hustling down the line, beating the Mariners first baseman to the bag, and George Springer broke the tie with a ground-rule double down the right field line. Marwin Gonzalez capped the inning with a 2-run single.
In all, the Astros sent nine to the plate and scored six runs, all earned, giving them the lead for good, and the Astros bullpen shut the door.
In four innings, the Astros relief quartet of Kevin Chapman, Jandel Gustave, Chris Devenski, and Pat Neshek put up all zeroes, in place of Mike Fiers, who surrendered four runs over five innings. Gustave earned the first win of his career.
Springer finished with three hits and two runs scored to go with his two RBI, while Altuve, Correa and Gattis chipped in a pair of hits.
The Astros scored all their runs against Felix Hernandez who allowed 10 hits, and only struck out three. It’s the third time this season he has allowed at least six runs against Houston, the first time that has happened in his career.
Robinson Cano doubled twice for Seattle, while Nelson Cruz also had two hits as did Lind.
Seattle remains two games back of the Orioles in chase of its first playoff berth since 2001.