Pinch-hitter Logan Morrison’s two-run homer in the eighth inning was the difference in the Mariners’ 7-5 win over the division-leading Astros (box score) Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. In the fifth, Mark Trumbo also had a two-run homer, measured at 464 feet, and Franklin Gutierrez had a first-inning solo shot. The Mariners entered the game with 158 homers, fifth in the American League, and 22 more than all of 2014.Essential moments
The beleaguered bullpen actually held a late-game lead. Up 7-5 in the eighth, reliever Carson Smith allowed a leadoff double to Colby Rasmus, who advanced to third on CF Brad Miller’s poor throw. Smith then struck out the side. Tom Wilhelmsen had a 1-2-3 ninth.
Gutierrez had two hits and a walk, scoring three times, and Miller had two hits, including a single that preceded Morrison’s decider. Both were off reliever Pat Neshek. Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano combined to go 1 for 9.
Starter Roenis Elias managed 5.1 innings with 100 pitches, which included four walks. He gave up four runs on five hits. Although Myckol Guiape allowed a run-scoring single in the sixth inning to tie the game at five, he and Logan Kensing got the game to Smith without further damage.
Astros starter Scott Feldman left the game after 2.2 innings and 85 pitches, which included five walks, with shoulder discomfort. The teams combined for 11 walks, three in a row by Feldman to force in a run.
“Logan was the obvious choice (to pinch hit). It doesn’t get any bigger than when you hit a pinch-hit homer to win a game.” — Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon
Over the past 20 games, the Mariners are 10-10 . . . With the trade of Austin Jackson, Brad Miller embarked on his apparent task of becoming the Mariners’ regular center fielder. “I think we feel if Brad plays most days out in center field, we will have a pretty good feel of whether or not he will be capable of manning that position in 2016,” interim general manager Jeff Kingston told ESPN 710. “Or is that something that we really need to go out and seek to upgrade in the offseason?” . . . LHP James Paxton, who has missed much of the season with a strained middle finger, was one of seven Mariners selected to play in the Arizona Fall League. McClendon said Paxton was set to pitch about 30 innings. He’s likely to rejoin the Mariners next week after another rehab game in Tacoma.
At 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, the rubber game of the series pits Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.53) against the Astros Scott Kazmir (7-9, 2.45).