Gonzalez's homer helps Astros down Mariners 7-0
HOUSTON (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in a four-run third inning that helped the Houston Astros to a 7-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
Houston, which eliminated the Mariners from contention for the AL West title with the victory, entered the day four games ahead of Oakland atop the division standings. The Athletics played later against the Angels.
Rookie starter Josh James (1-0) struck out seven and scattered four hits over 5 1/3 innings for his first major league win. Four relievers completed the shutout.
Seattle starter Mike Leake (10-10) yielded six hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings to snap a two-game winning streak.
Leake plunked Brian McCann to start the third before Tony Kemp doubled. The Astros took a 1-0 lead when George Springer hit an RBI single, and Springer reached second on the play thanks to an error by left fielder Denard Span. Kemp scored on a groundout by Jose Altuve to make it 2-0.
There were two outs in the inning when Gonzalez sent a drive to left-center that was originally ruled a double. But a replay review revealed it was a homer, pushing Houston's lead to 4-0.
The Mariners couldn't get much going against James. He walked Chris Hermann with no outs in the third before a one-out single by Mitch Haniger. After a short visit to the mound, James retired the next two batters to end the threat. He allowed a double to Robinson Cano to start the sixth before striking out Nelson Cruz with his final pitch.
Cano doubled twice and tied a season high with three hits, but the rest of the team managed only three hits on a night when the Mariners went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
The Astros padded their lead in the seventh when Yuli Gurriel doubled with one out and scored on a single by McCann. Houston added two more runs in the eighth, with the first one coming when Tyler White's fly to left-center dropped right in between Span and Dee Gordon for a double.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton played catch but was not quite ready to throw a bullpen as he continues to build strength after recovering from the flu and pneumonia. ... RHP Felix Hernandez (hamstring) is doing better and is expected to rejoin the team Friday before the start of a series against the Rangers.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr., on the disabled list since Aug. 5 with a strained right forearm, threw a simulated game and will throw another one Friday or Saturday. The Astros hope he'll be able to return before the end of the regular season.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.57 ERA), who has won his last two decisions, will start for the Astros when the series concludes Wednesday. The Mariners hadn't announced their starter, but manager Scott Servais said it will be a bullpen game.
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