Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick belted a three-run home run
for a second consecutive game as Houston closed its home schedule
with an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park.
Marisnick provided the Astros (69-87) breathing room with his
two-out blast off Mariners right-hander Yoervis Medina in the
seventh inning, turning a 4-3 lead into a four-run cushion.
Marisnick, who singled and scored the Astros' first run on a wild
pitch in the second, capped a five-homer outburst on Saturday night
with his dinger in the seventh.
The Mariners (83-72) dropped a critical series to the Astros,
slowing their pursuit of a postseason bid. Right-hander Hisashi
Iwakuma (14-9) failed to produce a quality start for the fourth
straight time, allowing four runs, six hits and three walks over 4
"The only thing you can say is that we haven't done our jobs,"
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano said. "The last couple games
we have men in scoring position and we just haven't done our jobs.
We just aren't very consistent. At the same time, these things
happen in the game."
The Astros chased Iwakuma with their three-run fifth. Altuve slapped
an RBI double into the left-field corner that scored shortstop
Jonathan Villar and, three batters later, right fielder Alex Presley
added a two-run single that scored Robbie Grossman and Altuve for a
4-3 Houston lead.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned," Mariners manager Lloyd
McClendon said of Iwakuma. "He had six days, so I thought he'd be a
lot sharper than he was today. We've got to figure it out. He just
lacked command of all his pitches."
Seattle had grabbed the lead a half-inning earlier on the strength
of Michael Saunders' two-run home run off Astros right-hander Collin
McHugh (11-9). However, McHugh bore down and fanned five of the last
six batters he faced, finishing with six strikeouts in six innings
Initially called out on a swinging bunt that was eventually ruled a
foul ball, Marisnick crushed a 1-2 curveball into the left-field
seats, scoring center fielder Dexter Fowler and Presley, both of
whom had singled.
"You can't control the situation, but it's been good. It's been
fun," Marisnick said. "Just to give us a little cushion there was
awesome. Honestly I don't think our pitchers needed it the way
they've been throwing."
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The Astros tacked on a run in the eighth inning when catcher Jason
Castro plated Altuve with an infield single that handcuffed Medina.
Houston claimed the final two games of the series and finished 38-43
at home. That 14-game improvement is due in part to Altuve, who will
carry his major-league-leading 220 hits into the final road trip of
"We were talking about it in the dugout that it would be a nice
tribute to him (with) the way he's played here all year long and the
magical year that he's had," Astros interim manager Tom Lawless said
of removing Altuve before the game concluded. "We decided to let the
fans appreciate him a little bit and that's why we took him out of
the game with two outs."
NOTES: While no definitive decision has been made, Astros LHP Dallas
Keuchel likely made his last start of the season on Saturday night.
Keuchel reached a career-high 200 innings for the season after
working eight innings against Seattle. If Keuchel is shut down,
rookie RHP Nick Tropeano will likely start the season finale against
the Mets in New York. ... Despite making just his 14th start in
center field, Astros OF Jake Marisnick entered Sunday leading the
club in defensive runs saved at that position (in 121 2/3 innings).
DH Dexter Fowler, the Astros' primary center fielder, has cost the
club 19 runs defensively in center over 925 1/3 innings there. ...
Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma missed out on the opportunity to join
Hideo Nomo (1996, 2002-03), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007-08), Yu Darvish
(2012) and Hiroki Kuroda (2012) as the only Japanese-born pitchers
to record 15-plus wins in a season.
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