SEATTLE -- Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole cruised through 5 2/3 innings of hitless ball until Jean Segura spoiled any no-no thoughts with an infield single on Monday.And that two-out grounder to second wound up opening the doors to a two-run rally as the Mariners eked out a 2-0 win behind
SEATTLE -- Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole cruised through 5 2/3 innings of hitless ball until Jean Segura spoiled any no-no thoughts with an infield single on Monday.
And that two-out grounder to second wound up opening the doors to a two-run rally as the Mariners eked out a 2-0 win behind a seven-inning gem from James Paxton and lit up a crowd of 35,198 fans eager to see Seattle challenge the defending World Series champion Astros in the American League West chase.
Denard Span followed Segura with a base hit to center and Nelson Cruz drove both in with a double down the left-field line on a ball with a 110.4 mph exit velocity, per Statcast™.
"Offensively, we got just enough," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "Their guy was dealing and we found a way to get a couple guys on with Segura and D-Span's hits and Cruz got a breaking ball, a slider, hit it down the line and that was about it."
"One base hit, I guess," said Cruz. "Segura got it going. He's definitely one of the best pitchers in the league, so we were hoping for at least one run the way Paxton was pitching."
Cole was dueling Paxton to a scoreless tie until the sixth-inning outburst. Seattle nearly had a hit in the fifth inning as well when Mitch Haniger looped a ball into right field that popped in and out of the glove of a diving George Springer.
But with Cruz on first after being hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, second baseman Yuli Gurriel quickly picked up the ball and fired to second for a forceout.
That inning did manage to finally disrupt Cole's tempo and push his pitch count up a bit, however, after he'd breezed through four innings with nary a baserunner and struck out six while pumping upper-90s fastballs.
"It got him into the stretch and we started to get some pitches on him a little, which isn't easy to do," said Servais. "He was rolling pretty good."
The win pulled Seattle within three games of the Astros, who still face the Mariners twice more in this series and 12 times in the final two months.
With Houston losing five in a row, Seattle has managed to move back within striking distance.
"We're aware of that," said Cruz. "We have to focus on what we can control and play our game and give us a chance to win every single game. Today, we scored just enough runs to win."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.