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Seattle Mariners

Mariners beat Astros for first win as Dyson and Segura deliver in ninth

By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

HOUSTON — There. The Mariners won’t go winless this season.

After opening the season with three close losses, the Mariners got RBI singles in the ninth inning on Thursday night from Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura and pulled out a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

“It was good to get that hit,” Dyson said. “It was even better to get the win. I mean that’s a tough bunch in Houston…So it was good to scratch out one here. Hopefully, that will carry over to Anaheim.”

At least that late-night flight to Los Angeles figured to be a little easier. The Mariners open a three-game weekend series Friday against the Angels.

Danny Valencia started the winning rally with a one-out walk against Astros closer Ken Giles on a borderline full-count pitch.

After Taylor Motter replaced Valencia as pinch-runner, Giles hit Carlos Ruiz with a first-pitch slider. Guillermo Heredia then replaced Ruiz at first base.

Dyson worked the count to 1-1 before getting the fastball he was looking for, a 96-mph fastball, and he sent a drive into left-center field that curled away from center fielder Jake Marisnick for an RBI single.

“Heater,” Dyson said. “I’m not coming off the heater. I’m looking heater unless it’s two strikes, then you’re in battle mode against that guy.”

The Mariners were 1 for 32 in the series with runners in scoring position before Dyson’s single.

Giles struck out Leonys Martin, but Jean Segura grounded an RBI single through the right side for a two-run lead. Two hits with a runner in scoring position in one inning.

“It has been a struggle for us,” manager Scott Servais acknowledged, “getting the big hit and driving guys in. We had some chances earlier in the game, and guys were scuffling.

“Nice at-bat by Valencia getting the walk. The hit-by-pitch kind of set it up. We we due to have a couple fall in.”

Edwin Diaz closed out the victory, which went to Dan Altavilla, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning with three strikeouts. It was Altavilla’s first major-league victory, and he got the requisite post-game celebratory shower.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Altavilla said. “It’s even better to get a team win and get us on the right track and carry that momentum into LA.”

Ariel Miranda became the fourth straight Mariners starter to go at least five innings while allowing two or fewer runs. The Mariners’ starters gave up six runs in 22 innings over the four-game series.

Miranda gave up solo homers to George Springer leading off the first inning and Marwin Gonzalez leading off the third before exiting after after the fifth.

The Mariners, trailing 2-1, knocked Houston starter Joe Musgrove out of the game by loading the bases with no outs in the sixth inning. Singles by Mitch Haniger and Robinson Cano preceded a walk to Nelson Cruz.

Michael Feliz replaced Musgrove to face Kyle Seager, whose grounder to first resulted only in a force at second as Haniger scored the tying run.

That was it, though. Valencia hit a weak liner to second, and Ruiz flied to center.

The Mariners started the game with a promising threat against Musgrove when Segura singled and Haniger walked, but the threat fizzled when Cano grounded into a double play.

Springer then opened the bottom of the inning with a 454-foot drive on a full-count fastball. It was Springer’s third homer of the series. He had a leadoff homer in the season opener and a three-run walk-off on Wednesday.

The Mariners pulled even on Haniger’s two-out boomer in the third inning, a 405-foot drive to left field that cleared the Crawford Boxes atop the scoreboard.

But Houston regained the lead on the first pitch in its half of the inning when Gonzalez pulled a 91-mph fastball over the left-field wall.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Miranda worked himself into, and then out of, a major jam in the fifth inning.

First, the Astros loaded the bases with no outs when Nori Aoki singled, Springer walked and Gonzalez was hit by a pitch. Jose Altuve then grounded into a third-home-first double play.

“It was the play of the game,” Servais said. “Great play by Seager (at third). Chooch (Ruiz) turning it around to get it to first base. That was the play of the game.

“We were up against it. Our bullpen was a little short tonight. Getting through that inning.”

After a no-pitch intentional walk to Carlos Correa reloaded the bases, Miranda ended the inning when Carlos Beltran lined out to second.

PLUS: Haniger got the Mariners’ first outfield assist of the season when he doubled up Aoki after catching Springer’s routine fly in the seventh inning…reliever James Pazos had a third scoreless outing when he pitched two strong innings after replacing Miranda to start the sixth.

MINUS: Miranda broke late from the mound on a grounder to first, and the result was a two-out single by Jose Altuve in the first inning…Aoki’s leadoff grounder in the seventh inning scooted through Seager at third base for an error.

STAT PACK: Jean Segura went 2-for-5 and became just the fourth different player in franchise history to have multiple hits in three of a season’s first four games. Edgar Martinez did it in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2001 and 2005 and Justin Smoak did it in 2014.

QUOTABLE: Diaz threw 28 pitches Wednesday while pitching two scoreless innings but had no trouble returning Thursday in the series finale.

“I did that in the WBC a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “When the manager came to me and asked me how I felt, I said, `I feel great.’”

Diaz retired three straight batters, including the final two on strikeouts.