The Mariners used an all-hands-on-deck approach on the mound and got plenty of offense, but Houston took the lead for good on a Colby Rasmus seventh-inning single to beat Seattle 7-6 Wednesday night at Safeco. The Astros (84-76) moved back into the final slot in the American League wild-card standings, a half-game ahead of the Angels.
After the Mariners used back-to-back homers from Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz to take a 6-3 lead in the fifth, Houston got it all back with a three-run homer from Chris Carter in the top of the sixth. Carter, who also had a big homer in the Astros’ Monday win, too reliever J.C. Ramirez deep.
LHP Tony Zych was the starter, although he was basically just the first reliever used in the eight-pitcher affair. Zych made the most of his first major-league start, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings while allowing three singles and striking out four before handing the ball to Mayckol Guaipe in the third. Guaipe and Logan Kensing were touched up for three runs in the fifth, then Rob Rasmussen got out of that jam.
For what it’s worth, each of the first five pitchers used in the game spent the first two months of the season in the minors; all eight pitchers spent part of this season pitching in the minor leagues.
2B Robinson Cano went 4 for 5, while C Jesus Sucre added a career-high three hits. Plenty of offense but the Mariners failed to deliver in some clutch situations, the most notable in the eighth when RF Brad Miller flew out to right with runners on first and third. The Mariners had help from the Astros, who committed four errors, but that wasn’t enough. The game ended on a fly-out, throw-out double play from Houston CF Carlos Gomez, who caught pinch runner James Jones too far off first.
“That was an exciting win, maybe a little bit of an ugly win, but very productive. We needed a lot of things to go our way, we needed our bullpen to step up and get big outs after the fifth. O It wasn’t our best game, but a win is a win, and getting out of here with a series win feels pretty good” — Astros manager A.J. Hinch
The King’s Court has seen its last pitch from Felix Hernandez this season. In a somewhat surprising move, Hernandez won’t make his next start and will be shut down after 201.2 innings. Manager Lloyd McClendon said before the game that the organization didn’t want to put more innings on Hernandez’s arm. The 29-year-old Hernandez, who finishes with an 18-9 record, seemed at peace with the decision. “I’m not making the decisions here,” he told reporters. “I want to pitch, but they said we aren’t going nowhere so let’s just have you rest. I understand” . . . Houston got CF Carlos Gomez back from a back injury but was without IF Jed Lowrie, who came out of Tuesday’s game with a strained quad. … Zych’s last start came during his sophomore year at the University of Louisville. He came out of the bullpen in 63 of the 71 games he pitched at UL.
The Mariners are off Thursday off before finishing the season with a three-game series against Oakland at Safeco Field this weekend. With Hernandez done, the Mariners will turn to RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (9-5, 3.67 ERA) to start Friday. It may be Iwakuma’s final start in a Seattle uniform, He’s scheduled to become a free agent. The A’s counter with RHP Aaron Brooks (2-4, 7.26 ERA).