ASTROS 8, MARINERS 3
SEATTLE -- When the Seattle Mariners were rolling in the middle of June, it appeared unlikely anyone in their own division would be contending with them for one of the wild card spots in the American League.
On Wednesday, the Mariners were knocked from the lead for the second wild-card in the AL, caught by division rival Oakland.
Marwin Gonzalez hit two of Houston's four home runs, and the Astros beat the Mariners 8-3, dropping Seattle into a tie with the Athletics in the wild-card race. Seattle led the A's by 11 games in the middle of June, but has seen the entire lead disappear over the past six weeks.
"I'm not worried really about anybody else right now. We need to get back to playing like we're capable of playing. It just hasn't happened here recently," Seattle Manager Scott Servais said.
The Mariners were 21 games over .500 at 46-25 after a 1-0 victory on June 16, while Oakland was just below .500 at 35-36. Seattle hasn't played terribly in the following six weeks, but its 17-20 record is pedestrian compared to Oakland's 29-10 mark and why the A's have caught up so quickly.
Both the Mariners and A's are still looking up at Houston in the AL West. After a five-game losing streak, the Astros rebounded to win the final two games of the series. Houston has a five-game cushion over both teams.
Gonzalez hit a solo home run off Wade LeBlanc (6-2) with two outs in the second inning and added a two-run shot in the fourth. Jake Marisnick, recalled from the minors before the game, added a two-run shot off LeBlanc and Max Stassi greeted reliever Nick Vincent with a three-run home run in the fifth to break the game open.
"When you look at our team when we're at our best, it is guys like Marwin and (Josh) Reddick. Stassi hit a big home run today. Jake comes up from the minor leagues and immediately produces," Houston Manager A.J. Hinch said. "This is a very deep team, and when you go through some stretches that you don't play your best, you can kind of forget that this team is built pretty well."
LeBlanc's outing was his worst of the season as he was unable to locate his off-speed pitches down in the strike zone. The seven earned runs were the second-most allowed in his career as a starter and the three home runs matched a career high. LeBlanc lost for the second time in his past four starts after winning his first five decisions of the season.
Former Arkansas Razorback Dallas Keuchel (9-9) improved to 6-1 in his past 9 starts, throwing 7 innings, allowing 3 runs and striking out 2. He retired 11 consecutive at one point and 11 of the 21 outs he recorded came via the groundball.
The bottom of Seattle's lineup pieced together four consecutive hits in the second, capped by RBI singles from Andrew Romine and Zach Vincej. But Seattle's offense continued to lag and was otherwise limited to Nelson Cruz's solo home run in the sixth, his 26th of the season.
ORIOLES 7, YANKEES 5 Sonny Gray was chased in the third inning, big-league loss leader Alex Cobb ended a nine-start winless streak and Baltimore beat host New York.
INDIANS 2, TWINS 0 Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings, winning his fourth consecutive start since returning from the disabled list to carry visiting Cleveland past Minnesota.
ATHLETICS 8, BLUE JAYS 3 Sean Manaea pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Jonathan Lucroy drove in four runs and host Oakland completed a season sweep of Toronto.
NATIONALS 5, METS 3 Tommy Milone worked seven strong innings to get his first victory in more than a year, Anthony Rendon homered and Washington beat visiting New York.
TIGERS 7, REDS 4 Jose Iglesias drove in three runs, Jim Adduci homered and host Detroit survived the loss of pitcher Mike Fiers to an early injury to beat Cincinnati.
Sports on 08/02/2018
Print Headline: Astros win, drop Mariners into a wild-card tie