Zack Greinke didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning as the Houston Astros defeated the host Seattle Mariners 3-0 Wednesday night.
Austin Nola broke up Greinke’s bid for his first career no-hitter with one out in the ninth, lining a 3-2 pitch for a single into left-center field. Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick made a diving attempt, but the ball fell just beyond his reach.
Tim Lopes then lined a single to right, ending Greinke’s night. The 35-year-old right-hander went 8 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out nine and walking one.
Astros right-hander Will Harris got the final two outs for his third save of the season.
The Astros (104-54) broke a franchise record for most victories in a season, set last year, and moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees (102-57) in the race for the best record in the American League and home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The Yankees lost 4-0 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Greinke (18-5) retired the first 16 batters he faced before walking Dee Gordon on a 3-2 count with one out in the sixth inning on a pitch that was slightly outside. The next batter, Lopes, hit a liner back to Greinke that the five-time Gold Glove Award winner snared and turned into an inning-ending double play.
The Astros scored twice in the first inning off Mariners rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (6-11).
George Springer led off the game with a line-drive single to center field. An out later, Alex Bregman hit a run-scoring double to left. Yordan Alvarez followed with another run-scoring double to left to make it 2-0. Kikuchi got Yuli Gurriel to ground out to third and struck out Kyle Tucker to end the inning.
Kikuchi, making his last start of the season, allowed two runs on six hits in six innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.
Tucker led off the ninth inning with a solo homer to center, his third of the season.
The Mariners (66-92) dropped 18 of 19 games against Houston this year, becoming only the second team to lose that many to an opponent since Major League Baseball broke the leagues into divisions in 1969. The Detroit Tigers lost 18 times to Cleveland this season.
Carlos Correa, Houston’s All-Star shortstop, didn’t play for the second consecutive game due to back tightness.
—Field Level Media