Evan Gattis and Josh Reddick each hit two-run homers and the Astros had 15 total hits in stopping the Mariners.
Even without their star middle infield tandem of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, it was only a matter of time before the Houston Astros broke out of their offensive funk, having not scored more than three runs in five straight games, all losses.
That time came Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
Evan Gattis gave Houston a lead in the sixth inning with a two-run homer to left field, then Josh Reddick helped seal the deal with a two-run blast to right field in the ninth inning in the Astros’ 5-2 win over the Mariners.
The Astros (68-41) snapped their longest losing streak of the season and regained their four-game lead over the Mariners (63-44) in the American League West.
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While Houston finally got its offense going, it was another difficult day for the Mariners’ offense. After scoring seven runs in the first inning Sunday against the Angels, the Mariners have scored five runs the past 26 innings.
“It is going to take everyone contributing,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “It can’t be just one guy and you can’t go up there thinking you’re going to hit three-run homers. Everybody’s got to keep grinding through it. But Houston’s got good pitching, the best pitching in the American League.”
Mariners starter Mike Leake and Astros starter Charlie Morton were dominant through the first three innings, allowing just a hit each. The Mariners weren’t getting many good pitches to hit, but Seattle shortstop Jean Segura got one over the middle of the plate in the fourth inning, and he smashed a long homer to left field to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
Leake wiggled out of trouble in the fourth, striking out Gattis with runners on first and second, and getting Tyler White to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning. But in the fifth, Houston ended a 14-inning scoreless streak when Reddick drove home Tony Kemp with a soft single to right field.
The next inning, Gattis got more than even with Leake with his decisive homer.
Still, it was a solid outing for Leake, who allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out four and allowed no walks.
Morton was a bit better, allowing two runs in six innings, giving up six hits and a walk. He struck out eight.
“Fastball, slider, changeup. He was combining his pitches so he was very tough,” said Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who was 0 for 4.
This had all the makings of a low-scoring game with the Astros’ offense looking nothing lately like it did in winning last season’s World Series and most of this season. Seattle, meanwhile, had scored three runs or less in 13 of its previous 18 games.
And it was a low-scoring game until the ninth. That is when lefty reliever Zach Duke, making his Mariners debut after being acquired Monday from the Twins, allowed a single to Kyle Tucker and then Reddick’s long homer. It was the first homer Duke had allowed this season.
“That happens,” Servais said of the homer Duke allowed to the lefty Reddick. “I told him after the game that if the situation arises, he would be out there again tomorrow, and probably facing Reddick again.”
While the Astros got a much-needed win, it was not all cheery. Center fielder George Springer left the game in the second inning with left-shoulder soreness and was to be further evaluated Wednesday.
The Mariners did have some bright spots in the game. One was the performance of reliever Sam Tuivailala, who just joined the Mariners after getting traded from the Cardinals. He pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, getting the Mariners out of a jam left by James Pazos in the seventh inning, then getting out of one he created in the eighth.
With runners on first and third with one out, he got Martin Maldonado to hit into a double play, keeping the Astros’ lead at 3-2 entering the ninth inning.
“I thought Tui threw the ball really well,” Servais said. “We put him in there in a tough spot, with a couple of guys on and the middle of the lineup coming up and he got through it, and he got the big double-play ball. That’s what he can do for us. A lot of upside and a lot to like in what he does.”