A late offensive eruption helped the Mariners win 8-3 and take the series 2-1 on the road against the AL West-leading Houston Astros (box score) at Minute Maid Park Wednesday night. Rookie CF Shawn O’Malley was 3-for-4 with two RBI in his Mariners debut, while Nelson Cruz left the game with a strained quad after being tagged out on a close play at the plate in the seventh inning.
Tied at 3 in the eighth with runners at second and third, O’Malley, from Kennewick, WA., hit a line drive to right field to drive in what would be the game-winning run. Moments later, Jesus Sucre was thrown out at home as O’Malley scampered to third, then came home on a Seth Smith grounder to second.
Logan Morrison slapped his 15th homer of the season in the top of the ninth, a three-run shot to left, which followed his pinch-hit two-run homer the night before. Kyle Seager finished 2-for-3 with two walks, scoring twice.
Taijuan Walker went 6.2 innings while giving up three runs on five hits, but it was Carson Smith who received the win for retiring Jose Altuve—and just Altuve—in the seventh to end the inning. Tom Wilhelmsen recorded the save, giving up a hit and fanning three after entering with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
Longtime nemesis Scott Kazmir was chased after 4.1 innings. The Mariners reached him for three runs on seven hits and two walks.
“He’s day-to-day . . . day-to-day means it’s not bad.”—manager Lloyd McClendon on Cruz’s injury.
Before the game, McClendon explained the decision to send down 1B Montero after his recent struggles: “It was an opportunity to get him some at-bats over the next six days and kind of sharpen him back up. When he comes back, he’ll have a better chance of helping us win ballgames. He hasn’t played consistently. We had that stretch of lefties where he played, but now he’s been sitting a little bit and he’s gotten a little rusty.” . . . McClendon flipped starters for the A’s series, starting Edgar Olmos Friday and pushing back Hisashi Iwakuma to Sunday. He wants to give Iwakuma extra rest. Felix Hernandez will start Saturday.
After an off-day Thursday, Seattle travels to Oakland to face the A’s in a three-game series starting Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT. Olmos (1-0, 2.13 ERA) will face Oakland’s Aaron Brooks (1-1, 5.47 ERA).