The Mariners are now 69-71 and will face the Angels — a team they are chasing in the wild card standings — in an ultra-important three-game series, starting Friday.
The “other guy” that the Astros acquired for the final month of the season has already provided major contributions in his short time with Houston.
While much of the focus was placed on the acquisition of right-hander Justin Verlander and for good reason, Houston also added Cameron Maybin after he became expandable when his former team — the Angels — traded for Justin Upton.
For the second straight night at Safeco Field, Maybin provided the decisive runs with a two-run homer. The Astros’ 5-3 victory completed a three-game sweep and removed a little more life from the Mariners’ fading postseason hopes.
L.A. Angels @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
Having entered the game earlier as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, Maybin delivered in the ninth, banging a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole off Mariners closer Edwin Diaz to break a 3-3 tie.
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“It was a disappointing series,” manager Scott Servais said. “I thought we were right in every game, but we just didn’t get big hits late, and that’s what it takes to beat these good teams. It’s timely hitting.”
Maybin’s homers the last two games have definitely been timely. His two-run homer in the seventh on Tuesday off Emilio Pagan was the game-winner. He waited a little longer in the series finale. Still, you don’t expect him to do it via the home run. His career high is 10 in a season.
Diaz got in trouble, giving up a leadoff double to Carlos Beltran. He was able to get one out, but Maybin drove his 100 mph fastball to right.
“I think if I throw that pitch a little higher to Maybin maybe it’s a fly ball,” Diaz said. “ … I thought it was a foul ball.”
Being swept by the Astros wasn’t completely unexpected for the Mariners. They’ve struggled to beat the division leaders well beyond this season. But coming off a sweep of the A’s last weekend, the hope was for a series win. Seattle had taken two of three from Houston at Minute Maid Park coming out of the All-Star break.
Instead, the Mariners are now 69-71 and will face the Angels — a team they are chasing in the wild-card standings — in an ultra-important three-game series starting Friday.
“There’s plenty of baseball left to play,” Servais said.
Down 2-0, Seattle got a run back in the fifth inning when Kyle Seager notched his team’s first hit, launching a deep solo homer to center. It was the third straight game that Seager has homered in, giving him 22 total on the season.
Seattle took the lead briefly in the bottom of the sixth. Jean Segura led off with a triple. He later scored on Robinson Cano’s line-drive single that tied the score at 2. Nelson Cruz followed with a single up the middle, ending Lance McCullers’ outing. Seattle took the lead two batters later when Mitch Haniger singled up the middle off Will Harris — the third pitcher used in the inning — to score a hustling Cruz from second for a 3-2 lead.
Seattle couldn’t hold the lead, losing it an inning later. Marc Rzepczynski gave up a leadoff double to Marwin Gonzalez to start the seventh. Gonzalez later came around to score on George Springer’s soft single to center off Nick Vincent with two outs.
“We had the right guys out there,” Servais said. “They have carried us all year. … The Astros were a little bit better.”
Making his first big-league start since July 26, Andrew Moore gave the Mariners more than expected. Before the game, Servais admitted that four innings was the hope. Because of the struggles with the starting rotation, Moore was one of multiple starters in Tacoma that had their outings shortened to four innings and their rest shortened for potential long relief usage in Seattle.
But with crisp fastball command and better secondary pitches, Moore exceeded expectations. The rookie right-hander pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits.
“It was my longest outing in a while, and those last two innings were tough,” he said. “I had to fight and slow down the pace a little.”