Robinson Cano ripped a three-run double off Houston closer Luke Gregerson in the ninth inning that broke a 3-3 tie and lifted the Mariners to a 6-3 victory over the Astros Thursday night at Minute Maid Park (box). Seattle won its fourth consecutive game and extended its lead in the AL West to 2.5 games over the Texas Rangers, a 12-2 loser to Toronto.
The last time the Mariners, who scored two in the seventh and three in the ninth, led the AL West as late as May 5 was in 2009. The Mariners are 17-11. One year ago after 28 games, they were 11-17.
After Jose Altuve, who plagued the Mariners with a 4-for-4 effort, tied the game in the seventh with an RBI double to deep center, the game entered the ninth tied 3-3. Leonys Martin opened with a single and stole second. After Nori Aoki walked, Seth Smith singled to load the bases for Cano, who banged a 1-1 pitch over Carlos Gomez’s head in deep center, clearing the bases. Steve Cishek closed it out for his ninth save.
Cano went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, giving him an American League-high 30 in 28 games. He also leads the AL with nine home runs and is batting .287 . . . Smith had two clutch hits, a two-run single in the seventh that gave Seattle a 3-2 lead and the single in the ninth . . . The Mariners collected 12 hits, giving them 53 over the past four games . . . Aoki had two hits and two RBIs and Kyle Seager also had two hits, including his first triple.
Starter Wade Miley had an effective outing, working six innings while allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Miley threw 92 pitches, 61 for strikes, and lowered his ERA from 5.06 to 4.74 . . . Reliever Joel Peralta made certain that Miley would not record his third consecutive win by allowing two base runners in the seventh, the first of whom, Tyler White, scored to tie at 3 after hitting an inning-opening double . . . Cishek is 9-for-9 in save opportunities. He required only nine pitches to record the save.
“We had a lot of good at-bats. I thought we were pretty consistent in our approach. We continued to execute and got the big hit at the end of the game. I thought (Wade) Miley did a good job against a pretty good lineup and Robby (Cano) just stayed aggressive and looked for his pitch. The bottom and top of the lineup were really good tonight.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
The Mariners improved to 12-4 on the road, best mark in the AL. They are also 12-4 in their past 16 contests . . . Nelson Cruz went 0-for-5, snapping his road hitting streak at eight in a row . . . Former starting C Mike Zunino was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Month for April Thursday after hitting .397 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 20 games . . . Servais said Thursday that reliever Tony Zych will miss approximately four weeks with a sore shoulder . . . Altuve’s four-hit game was the 13th of his career.
The four-game series continues Friday at 5:05 p.m. RHP Taijuan Walker (2-1, 1.80) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Doug Fister (2-3, 4.60), the former Mariner. The Mariners will return to Safeco Field Monday to face the Tampa Bay Rays.