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Altuve finds redemption with bases loaded

Astros finally find a way to get clutch hits in eighth-inning rally

SEATTLE -- With one clutch swing of the bat Tuesday night, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve washed away two weeks' worth of frustration with the bases loaded.

After Jake Marisnick tied the game with a single in the eighth inning that was the Astros' first hit of the year with the bases loaded, Altuve followed with a bases-clearing double into the left-field corner to lead the Astros past the Mariners, 6-3, at Safeco Field.

It was sweet redemption for Altuve, who had come up empty with the bases-loaded twice previously Tuesday.

"That at-bat I was like, 'You ready?'" he said. "I knew I was going to get one ball to score that run. We needed that run. I think with our bullpen we need only one run in that situation and hopefully I get the hit. I think the guys in front of me, they did well. They put bases loaded three times for me. I think that's enough. After that we pitched really good and played good defense."

The Astros entered the game 0-for-5 this season with the bases loaded and came up empty in that situation twice -- in the fourth when Altuve hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice and in the sixth when he flied out.

Trailing 3-1 in the eighth, the first three Astros batters reached, including an RBI single by Chris Carter that cut the lead to one run. After Jed Lowrie walked, Marisnick broke the Astros' 0-for-7 drought with the bases loaded with a game-tying single to left. Altuve followed with a rocket into the left-field corner that cleared the bases for a double that put Houston ahead, 6-3.

Video: [email protected]: Marisnick ties the game with an RBI single

"We had a ton of opportunities early, or felt like we did, and never had the breakthrough hit until Altuve had the double," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Marisnick, hitting ninth, has been setting the table nicely for Altuve. Marisnick reached base all four times up Tuesday, with a walk, a hit by pitch and a pair of singles. He even scored on a sacrifice fly on a pop up to shortstop Brad Miller to shallow left field in the third.

Video: [email protected]: Astros challenge overturns out call at home

"We've kind of been in some big situations and let 'em slide away," Marisnick said. "I think more often than not, you're going to start seeing us come up big and get those big hits."

The Astros began Tuesday ranked last in the Majors in batting average with runners in scoring position, but improved their average by going 4-for-11. They're now 16-for-86 (.186) this year with runners in scoring position after a couple of big ones to beat the Mariners.

"The most important thing is about this sport is they're going to give you another opportunity," Altuve said. "We have a couple of opportunities at the [beginning] of the game that we didn't execute, but at the end of the game we did end up winning the game and that's what matters right now."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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