(The Sports Exchange) - Rookie Shawn O‘Malley delivered a two-run, two-out, tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 6-4 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday.
Houston (83-75) fell a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the race for the final American League wild-card spot. The Astros also dropped to 2 1/2 games behind Texas in AL West standings with just four games left on Houston’s schedule.
O‘Malley’s single to left-center broke a 4-4 tie and helped Seattle (75-83) snap a six-game losing streak. The rookie center fielder came off the bench and finished 1-for-2.
Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen, who came on with one out in the eighth inning of a tie game, earned the win after pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Wilhelmsen (2-2) got his first win since May 15.
Houston’s Oliver Perez (0-3) took the loss after one of the two batters he faced, outfielder Seth Smith, singled and eventually came around to score the game-winning run on O‘Malley’s hit.
The Mariners had four consecutive players reach base with two outs in the eighth, with reliever Pat Neshek giving up two singles and a walk after coming on for Perez with a runner on first.
Neshek allowed a single to first baseman Mark Trumbo and walked pinch hitter Franklin Gutierrez before O‘Malley delivered the big hit.
Houston got a baserunner in the top of the ninth, but right fielder George Springer, who had three hits and an RBI, flied out to right to end the game.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer in the sixth, tying the score 4-4. Houston left fielder Marwin Gonzalez also hit a tying home run in the fifth, with his solo shot pulling the Astros even at 2-2.
Houston starter Mike Fiers allowed five hits and four runs (three earned) over 5 2/3 innings. It marked the fourth start in a row that Fiers was not involved in the decision.
Springer’s two-out RBI double, his third hit of the night, gave the Astros a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. Springer drove in catcher Hank Conger, who doubled after Gonzalez tied the score with his 12th home run of the season.
The Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of sacrifice flies. Shortstop Ketel Marte led off the frame with a single and moved to third on a double by third baseman Kyle Seager.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz then drove in his 91st run of the season with a flyout to left, and an error on the throw home allowed Seager to move to third. One batter later, Cano flied out to left to score Seager.
Houston’s first run came on an RBI by shortstop Carlos Correa after the first two Astros hitters reached on singles. Correa’s groundout to second base scored leadoff hitter Jose Altuve from third for a 1-0 lead.
Seattle starter Vidal Nuno allowed three runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out five without issuing a walk.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly