Astros boost wild card lead with contentious 8-3 win over Mariners behind Dubon's 3-run homer
By SHANE LANTZ
SEATTLE (AP) Mauricio Dubón hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the fourth inning, and the Houston Astros boosted their lead over the Seattle Mariners for the last AL wild card with a contentious 8-3 win on Wednesday night.
Benches cleared in the sixth with Houston ahead 4-3 after Hector Neris struck out Julio Rodríguez for the inning's final out. Neris pounded his chest, shouted and walked toward Rodriguez as the Seattle star was returning to the dugout. Umpires restored order after a few tense minutes of shouting.
Rodríguez went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and was 0 for 9 in the series. Mariners batters struck out 16 times and Seattle, held scoreless over the last five innings, went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Defending champion Houston moved 1 1/2 games in front of Seattle for the third and final wild card and headed to a three-game series at Arizona in control of its fate. The Mariners, who hold the tiebreaker, host AL West leader Texas in a four-game series. The Rangers lead Seattle by 2 1/2 games.
Houston's Michael Brantley tied his career high with four hits, returning to the lineup after missing eight games with right shoulder soreness.
Kendall Graveman (5-6) pitched a scoreless fifth in relief of Framber Valdez,
J.P. Crawford homered on Valdez's second pitch but Yordan Alvarez hit a tying homer in the fourth against Bryce Miller (8-7), who gave up four runs and six hits in four innings. Dubon's homer put the Astros ahead 4-1, but Eugenio Suárez cut the deficit with a two-run single in the bottom half.
Houston opened a 7-3 lead in the seventh. Alex Bregman reached third when his single got past right fielder Teoscar Hernandez for an error. Kyle Tucker hit an RBI double, and José Abreu and Michael Brantley followed with RBI singles against Matt Brash. Martín Maldanado hit a solo homer in the eighth off Trent Thorton.
Astros: OF Chas McCormick was out after taking a 99 mph fastball from Andrés Muñoz off his back Tuesday.
Astros: RHP J.P. France (11-6, 3.83 ERA) will Friday.
Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert (13-7, 3.75 ERA) starts Thursday against Texas and LHP Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.25).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Updated September 28, 2023