Cruz late double sends Mariners past Astros on Friday
Nelson Cruz doubled with the bases loaded to key a three-run eighth inning, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 5-2 victory over the host Houston Astros on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
The loss was the Astros' sixth straight at home.
Cruz drove home Mitch Haniger and Denard Span with his double to left-centre field off Astros reliever Ryan Pressly. Haniger and Span reached in succession with one out against Astros starter Gerrit Cole (10-5) before Cruz rallied from a 0-2 count to snap a 2-all deadlock.
Kyle Seager followed with a run-scoring groundout to score Jean Segura, who was hit by the first pitch Pressly threw upon entering the game. Cole suffered the loss in a third consecutive start.
Cole allowed four runs on six hits and one walk with five strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. He allowed just one baserunner over five scoreless frames before immediately surrendering the two-run lead the Astros scratched out in the bottom of the fifth.
Cole served up an RBI double to Haniger and a run-scoring single to Span after Cameron Maybin and Dee Gordon opened the inning with a single and a walk, respectively. Haniger and Span pulled the same double-single trick in the eighth to chase Cole and set the table for Cruz, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
Houston spotted Cole a 2-0 lead by recording four hits off Mariners right-hander Mike Leake in the fifth. But Leake did well to limit the damage to two runs after Houston placed runners at the corners with no outs, helping his own cause by fielding a bunt from Astros catcher Martin Maldonado and executing a toss to Mike Zunino, who tagged Marwin Gonzalez out at home.
Tony Kemp and Alex Bregman did deliver run-scoring hits, but Leake induced a first-pitch groundout from Carlos Correa to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.
With two runners on and two outs in the seventh, Correa again swung at the first pitch and grounded into a fielder's choice against Mariners right-hander Adam Warren (1-1). Correa, reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and making his first start since June 25, went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick departed with left groin discomfort following his one-out double in the seventh.
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