The Seattle Mariners were just shy of a sweep Sunday at T-Mobile Park.
Marco Gonzales earned a standing ovation after another solid performance against the Houston Astros, and Ty France’s hitting streak reached 11 games. He sent in the run that tied the game at 1.
But Yordan Alvarez’s line-drive single to left field with the bases loaded gave the Astros a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth and that turned out to be the final score.
The Mariners had the tying run at third, but Luis Torrens’ grounder gave way to a double play to end the game.
“It’s one of those games where you’re going to come down to – can you create some chaos and traffic out there and then get a big hit?” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We certainly created a lot of chaos, just didn’t finish it off by getting the big hit.
“Guys executed and just didn’t finish it off.”
Houston’s Jeremy Peña launched the first pitch he saw over the center-field fence in the second inning. The Mariners didn’t put a potential tying run on base until Luis Garcia walked Eugenio Suarez during the fifth.
In the sixth, Torrens singled with a hard line drive to right field for his team’s first hit. France did the same two outs later, sending in Torrens and advancing to second on a throwing error.
When batting with two outs this season, France sits first in the league in hits (24) and batting average (.414). His 19 RBI were tied for the lead.
The Mariners turned in 6-1 and 6-0 victories in the first two games in this series against the first-place Astros. After falling to last place in the AL West, the Mariners won back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month.
“Really happy with the way we bounced back after a rough start to this homestand, playing the way we did,” Servais said. “If we continue to do that, we’ll be fine going forward and certainly as we head out to this road trip.”
The next three series are on the road. It’s the Astros’ turn to be the hosts on June 6.
Logan Gilbert turned in a standout effort Saturday and Gonzales offered a worthy reprise. Through 7 1/3 innings, he finished with 59 strikes among his 96 pitches with five hits, two earned runs, a walk and two strikeouts. He left the game in the top of the eighth to applause following Martin Maldonado’s ground-rule double down the left-field line.
“It’s really motivating to go out there and keep putting up zeroes and keep us in it,” Gonzales said.
“I really do love the pitchers’ duels. It’s nice when you do pitch with a lead, but I really love the challenge of trying to keep our team in it.”
Gonzales said there’s healthy competition among the starters and the pitchers in general.
“We need to carry our weight here and really set the tone,” he said. “Proud of our group. We’ve really gone out and thrown the ball well and I’m really happy with how we’re pitching right now.”
Garcia, his Astros counterpart, allowed four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and a walk. Ryan Pressly earned the save.
“Just trying to match him and keep us in it,” Gonzales said of Garcia. “I knew we’d come up swinging.”
The Mariners’ last series sweep of the Astros was Aug. 9-12, 2018 in Houston. It hasn’t happened in Seattle.
It wasn’t in the cards Sunday, but they did take two of three from an opponent for the first time since May 13-15 against the New York Mets.
“The most complete series we’ve played, maybe, since very, very early in the season,” Servais said. “A lot of positives there the last couple of nights.”
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