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Mariners allow 4 homers to drop into tie with A's

LeBlanc lets up seven runs over 4 1/3 innings; Cruz hits home run No. 26
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Mariners couldn't keep the Astros in the ballpark on Wednesday afternoon, allowing four homers to drop the series clincher, 8-3, at Safeco Field.

Starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc gave up three of those long balls -- one to Jake Marisnick and two to Marwin Gonzalez.

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners couldn't keep the Astros in the ballpark on Wednesday afternoon, allowing four homers to drop the series clincher, 8-3, at Safeco Field.

Starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc gave up three of those long balls -- one to Jake Marisnick and two to Marwin Gonzalez.

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"Arm felt a little slow today," LeBlanc said. "Finish wasn't there at the end, which takes life off pitches, takes movement off pitches, makes me easier to hit."

Nick Vincent relieved LeBlanc with a pair of runners on in the fifth and gave up a home run to the first batter he saw, Max Stassi.

Seattle got a homer of its own in the sixth inning when Nelson Cruz belted his 26th of the year, but the Mariners would not score again in the contest.

Video: HOU@SEA: Cruz belts his 26th long ball of the season

A loss to the Astros in concert with Oakland's victory over Toronto sends the Mariners into a tie with the Athletics -- both for the second American League Wild Card spot and second place in the AL West.

This is the first time the Mariners have not had sole possession of a postseason spot since they trailed the Angels by a game on May 17.

The Mariners were playing without their starting corner infielders. Kyle Seager was out for his third and final day of paternity leave and Ryon Healy was a late scratch due to some lower back soreness that manager Scott Servais suspected was connected to his collision with catcher Mike Zunino on Sunday in Anaheim.

Due to the late scratch, Zach Vincej ended up finding out he would be in the lineup about 40 minutes before game time, but still went 2-for-4 and picked up his first career RBI.

Video: HOU@SEA: Vincej picks up his 1st Mariners hit, RBI

"There's been some transactions -- some guys out, some guys in -- we got a lot going on, and no excuses," Servais said. "Other teams do as well. We play against the Astros club, they didn't have their full squad out there either but they found a way to get it done."

Cameron Maybin made his Mariners debut after arriving in Seattle close to 2 a.m. PT Wednesday. He reached base three times and scored a run.

"I'm extremely exhausted right now," Maybin said. "I was actually seeing stars at one point during the game. I thought I was losing it a little bit, but I think it was just from not getting any rest."

Video: HOU@SEA: Maybin singles to pick up 1st Mariners hit

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seattle seemed primed for a comeback in the second inning. Down 3-0, the Mariners got a one-out walk followed by four straight singles from their No. 6 through No. 9 hitters to make it a one-run game.

Dee Gordon stepped in with the bases loaded, but lined into a double play to end the threat. Gordon's liner left the bat at 93.5 mph with a launch angle of 11 degrees, which is good for a hit probability of 84 percent, per Statcast™.

Video: HOU@SEA: Gonzalez corrals liner, doubles up Romine

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In his pregame media address, Servais said to expect to see Guillermo Heredia in left field more often due to the addition of Maybin..

Heredia got the start in left on Wednesday and instantly impressed with an inning-ending sliding grab in the second inning. The ball had a catch probability of just 31 percent, since Heredia had to travel 62 feet in 3.8 seconds -- making it a four-star catch.

Video: HOU@SEA: Heredia charges in to snag sinking liner

HE SAID IT
"It's about how we're playing and what we need to be doing and we're not playing at the top of our game right now -- offensively for sure. We've shown signs of doing much, much more in the batter's box and creating more outs on the bases. All those things. We gotta get back to playing really good baseball, then we'll worry about the other guys." -- Servais, on the Mariners pulling into a tie with the Athletics

UP NEXT
The Mariners will open up a four-game set against the Blue Jays on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. PT at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez (8-9, 5.58 ERA) will get a shot at redemption after lasting just 2 2/3 innings and giving up seven earned runs last time out against the Angels. The Blue Jays have not announced a starting pitcher.

David Gottlieb covers the Mariners for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DGottliebMLB.

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