Resilient Mariners complete sweep of Astros

Seattle moves within a half-game of Houston for the second AL Wild Card position

August 20th, 2023

HOUSTON -- Faced with adversity, Seattle didn’t crumble Sunday.

The Mariners stayed hot, defeating the Astros, 7-6, for a sweep of the three-game series and their sixth straight win overall.

Seattle trails Houston by a half-game for the second American League Wild Card spot and Texas by three games in the AL West.

Seattle swept Houston for the first time since Aug. 9-12, 2018. It was also Seattle’s sixth series sweep of the season, and its seventh straight winning road series.

“We’ve got some big goals for this team,” Seattle left fielder  said. “We’re exactly where we want to be. With the pitching staff we have, we’re in a good spot.”

It didn’t come easily, though.

“Awesome series,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I can’t say enough about the competitiveness of our group. These guys don’t quit. We jump out to the 6-0 [lead], and we think we are in total control. Then, all of a sudden a little adversity hits.”

Seattle starter Emerson Hancock exited after two innings with a right shoulder strain, and the Mariners had to get seven innings from their bullpen.

“At that point, you’re going to lean on a lot of different guys out of the bullpen,” Servais said. “Ton of credit goes to the bullpen today. … The guys behind [Tayler Saucedo] picked him up and did an unbelievable job, ending with ’s first save. That to me is what stands out today.”

After Saucedo struggled to get an out, the rest of the bullpen delivered, with Trent Thornton, Matt Brash, Isaiah Campbell, Justin Topa, Andrés Muñoz and Speier combining to allow one run over seven innings.

“We have some guys who are hanging a little bit,” Servais said. “They’re soggy. This is where we’re at in the season. We’ve used them a lot. We’ve played a lot of close games, and when your starter leaves after two innings, everybody knows, ‘OK, we are on red alert. We are going to be in this game at some point.’ Credit to them. Not trying to do too much or overthinking.”

For Speier, it was his first career save.

“When the phone rang, and it was for me, I was super excited,” Speier said. “My heart was beating pretty good, but I was able to lock it in and get the job done.”

Seattle’s offense continued to produce, but unlike most of the past week when  led the way, the contributions came from unlikely sources.

Canzone and each had four hits and drove in a run, and  had a two-run double in the third to give Seattle a 6-0 lead. The four hits were a career high for Canzone.

“[Rodríguez has] been picking everybody up, and it’s been guys here and there having big at-bats, so it’s been everybody,” Canzone said. “It’s been a team effort. It’s been fun so far.”

had a two-run homer as well.

Rodríguez did get a hit, leading off the game with a double to right on the first pitch from Hunter Brown. Rodríguez came around to score on two wild pitches.

That would be the only hit for Rodríguez, who saw his streak of games with at least four hits snapped at four and who missed tying the AL/NL record of 19 hits in a five-game span by one. His 18 hits over a five-game span is tied for second since at least 1901.

Rodríguez was not alone producing during the series, as Moore went for 6-for-9 with two home runs and four RBIs. The Mariners scored 19 runs over the three games.

“The things we did offensively in this series was fantastic,” Servais said. “We had good at-bats, but it all comes down to the competing. Our guys love to compete, and we got after it today. That’s the only way you’re going to figure out a way to sweep a team like that at this time of the year.”

Seattle heads to Chicago for three against the White Sox, looking to stay hot. The Mariners are 31-13 since July 1 and 19-5 on the road over that span.

“We’ll keep rolling,” Servais said. “Guys are feeling it right now. We’re playing great baseball. We’re leaning on each other. That’s what this team is about.”