Michael Brantley produced a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning to help provide the Houston Astros some insurance in their 7-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners on Friday.
Houston improved to 14-1 against Seattle this season after improving to 2-0 in the current four-game series.
Brantley plated Martin Maldonado with his hit to center field off right-hander Dan Altavilla, salvaging what had the makings of a lost opportunity for Houston. Maldonado chased Seattle left-hander Tommy Milone with his 416-foot double to straightaway center field, putting runners at second and third, but Altavilla entered and recorded a strikeout of Josh Reddick before inducing a ground ball from Jose Altuve that resulted in Abraham Toro being tagged out at the plate.
After Brantley extended the Houston lead to 6-4, another critical Mariners miscue enabled the Astros to tack on an additional run. Alex Bregman (2-for-4, two runs, one RBI) worked a 14-pitch walk off Altavilla after falling behind 0-2 in the count, with Altuve scoring on the 12th pitch of that plate appearance on a passed ball by Mariners catcher Austin Nola.
Bregman was involved in another scoring play in the fifth, notching his first steal of home on the back half of a double steal. The Mariners botched the play, as they had Aledmys Diaz caught between first and second, but the throw to the plate by shortstop Dylan Moore short-hopped Nola.
Astros left-hander Framber Valdez allowed five consecutive batters to reach with one out in the first inning, surrendering a two-run single to Tom Murphy that enabled Seattle to post a crooked number in the opening frame for a second consecutive game.
Houston responded with three runs in the bottom of the first against Mariners opener Reggie McClain. Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel, who departed in the fifth with left hamstring discomfort, drove in runs in succession.
Milone (3-9) handcuffed the Astros for two-plus frames before surrendering a solo home run to Reddick with two outs in the fourth, the 12th dinger on the season for Reddick.
Milone was charged with four runs (three earned) on three hits and one walk with five strikeouts over four innings. Valdez wasn’t much better for the Astros, allowing three runs on two hits and six walks with six strikeouts over four innings, but the Houston bullpen picked up the slack.
Joe Smith (1-0) earned the win in relief while Roberto Osuna tallied his 32nd save.
—Field Level Media