Robinson Cano capped a 4-for-5 performance with a solo home run, his second of the game, in the 10th inning that lifted the Mariners to a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros Saturday night at Minute Maid Park (box). Seattle (18-12) maintained its 1.5-game lead over Texas, a 10-5 winner over Detroit, in the AL West.
Steve Cishek came on in the ninth with a 2-1 lead and had an opportunity to record his 10th save in as many chances, but surrendered a game-tying solo homer to Luis Valbuena, briefly a Mariner in 2008, to send the game into extra frames. But after Cano drilled his 11th homer of the season, Cishek came out for a second inning and closed out Seattle’s fifth victory against one loss on the seven-game road trip.
After Houston reliever Tony Sipp struck out Ketel Marte to commence the 10th, Cano blasted an opposite-field home run. He also homered in the third and finished with two RBIs. Cano has 11 home runs. One year ago after 30 games, Cano had one home run.
Cano hiked his batting average to .305 and increased his RBI total to 32 in 30 games. Only Ken Griffey Jr., with 35 in 1997 en route to a unanimous MVP award, had more RBIs after 30 games in franchise history (Alex Rodriguez had 31 in 2000 after 30 games and Edgar Martinez 30 in 30 games, also in 2000). Cano extended to 12 his hitting streak against the Astros . . . Kyle Seager, who gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his seventh homer of the season, went 3-for-4 while looking at only seven pitches. Seager has five consecutive multi-hit games . .. Nelson Cruz broke an 0-for-11 in the eighth inning with single to right . . . The Mariners, who had 11 hits, went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Starter Nathan Karns allowed one run on six hits in 6.1 innings with nine strikeouts and two walks before departing after throwing a season-high 105 pitches. Karns, seeking his fourth win, exited with two Houston runners aboard, but Nick Vincent got the next two outs on ground balls to retire the side, and then retired the only batter he faced in the eighth . . Cishek’s blown save was his first of the year, but the win was his second (2-1, 1.13).
“Cishek made a mistake in the ninth on that pitch (to Valbuena), but he gutted it out in the 10th. This was a great ball game, an excellent start by Karns, and what can you say about Robbie? Obviously, he’s carrying us right now. He’s just an electric player and a lot of fun to watch.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
The Mariners are 4-1 in extra-inning games . . . Mariners are also 13-5 in their past 18, 16-6 in their past 22. . . Mariners improved to 13-5 on the road, the best away mark in the American League . . . The Mariners have an opportunity Sunday to win their seventh consecutive series . . . Mariners are 13-0 when leading after eight innings.
The Mariners close out their four-game set with the Astros at 11:10 a.m. Sunday. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-3, 4.03) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Collin McHugh (3-3, 6.59). The Mariners begin a three-game series with Tampa Bay Monday at Safeco Field.