SEATTLE -- Josh Reddick launched a two-run home run and Brian McCann hit a bases-clearing double as the Astros snapped the Mariners' six-game win streak with a 5-2 victory in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday night at Safeco Field.
Houston's offense backed a strong return off the disabled list from starter Lance McCullers (7-1), who retired the first 12 batters of the game and gave up one run on four hits and struck out eight in a winning effort over five-plus innings.
"I thought he was great," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was nice to see him come out pretty hot. He was mid-90s from the very beginning, had a really good breaking ball. He cruised through his first few innings and never got in any trouble. They got a couple of swings on him mid-game, but I don't think we could have asked for much more coming back from a long break."
Reddick hammered a sinker left in the middle of the zone a projected 411 feet to straightaway center field, according to Statcast™, for a two-run home run, his eighth of the season, providing the Astros (51-25) a 2-0 lead in the third. The Mariners (39-38) were able to briefly cut into Houston's lead in the sixth, as Robinson Cano picked up an RBI single. But McCann provided the Astros insurance runs by ripping a two-out, three-run double to right field in the seventh inning off Seattle reliever Steve Cishek.
The Mariners assembled one last hurrah in the bottom of the ninth, as pinch-hitter Mike Zunino walked with the bases loaded and two outs, but Ken Giles, who walked three in a row with two outs, struck out Carlos Ruiz looking to thwart the threat.
"It's tough to win games," Hinch said. "We played pretty well. They battled at the end and did a really good job of competing at the end, both sides did. It's tough to win, especially when those guys are playing so well, but all's well that ends well."
Mariners starter Sam Gaviglio (3-2) was handed the loss, allowing two runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out three over six innings.
"We're in a good spot [down] 2-1, liking our chances late, but they got the big hit and we weren't able to come up with it tonight," Mariners managers Scott Servais said. "The goal coming in here was to win the series, and we got a chance to do that tomorrow."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oh so close: With two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger tracked to his right and laid out for a spectacular diving catch. The only problem? The ball came out as he closed his glove and it rolled to the wall, allowing McCann to notch a three-run double. George Springer singled, Reddick reached on catcher's interference and Carlos Correa singled to load the bases. More >
"The ball was hooking away from Haniger, which was to our advantage," Hinch said. "McCann battled that at-bat. A two-out hit to clear the bases was just a great battle between those two. Obviously, well-placed but couldn't have come at a bigger moment."
Lance's great escape: McCullers sent down the first 12 batters he faced before Nelson Cruz beat out an infield dribbler to start the fifth. Kyle Seager followed with a double to put runners at second and third with no outs, but McCullers buckled down. He struck out Haniger, got Jarrod Dyson to hit into a fielder's choice and then struck out Taylor Motter to end threat, pumping his fists as he left the mound.
"When we here last time, Motter really hurt us. I know he can hit the ball out to left field at any given second, but that was big for me ... and for us," McCullers said.
"That's probably the best lineup we've faced all year. Honestly, top to bottom, there's not really a huge break anywhere in there. So for us to be able to come back, bounce back from yesterday and put together a good win is good for us," -- McCullers on the Mariners' lineup
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
By getting their 51st victory, the Astros equaled their win total from the entire 2013 season.
LAYIN' OUT IN LEFT
Reddick made two diving catches to rob the Mariners of base hits. The toughest came in the seventh, as Reddick sprinted forward on a hard-hit line drive and laid out for the third out of the inning and saving a run. It was rated a four-star snag with a catch probability of 44 percent by Statcast™, as Reddick traveled 51 feet in 3.6 seconds to complete the grab. The first catch came in the first, as Reddick prevented Jean Segura's well-hit ball -- which had a 79 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™ -- from dropping. More >
Astros: Right-hander Francis Martes will make his third career start in Sunday's 3:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Mariners. Martes, who's starting in place of Brad Peacock (paternity leave), won his previous two starts by allowing four earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.
Mariners:Ariel Miranda takes the hill for the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. PT Sunday to cap off the three-game series at Safeco Field. The 28-year-old left-hander is 3-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his last eight starts.
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