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Mariners 10, Astros 7

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HOUSTON -- The Seattle Mariners continued their torrid offensive month of July by bashing four home runs en route to a 10-7 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak capped the onslaught with a ninth-inning leadoff shot, his ninth on the season. That blast off Astros right-hander Hector Ambriz gave the Mariners a little breathing room after the Astros had rallied with three runs in the eighth.

In fact, the Astros' three runs was an answer to the Mariners scoring three in their half of the eighth. Seattle shortstop Brad Miller, who went 3-for-5 belted his second homer of the night to account for those runs.

Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager started the power surge with a two-run shot in the fourth that enabled Seattle (44-52) to extend its club record of games with a home run to 23 games.

Trailing 9-3 heading into their penultimate at-bat, the Astros (33-62) made things interesting by bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs.

Center fielder Brandon Barnes, who finished 5-for-5, completed his first career cycle and the eighth in Houston history with a double before Brett Wallace added a two-run home run that followed a run-scoring groundout by third baseman Matt Dominguez.

But Mariners right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen induced Chris Carter to roll into a fielder's choice groundout to stifle that rally before completing his 20th save by working around a Dominguez two-out RBI single in the ninth.

Seattle left-hander Joe Saunders (9-8) earned the victory.

What began as another exceptional home outing for Astros right-hander Bud Norris quickly unraveled when Seager extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a two-run home run that erased the Astros' 1-0 lead.

That blast wasn't the extent of Norris' woes. After hitting Michael Saunders with a pitch and walking Mike Zunino, Norris surrendered a two-run triple to nine-hole hitter Dustin Ackley, whose line drive into the left-field corner scored Saunders and Zunino and extended the Mariners' lead to 4-1.

In the sixth, Norris allowed a two-out, two-run home run to Brad Miller, the first of his big-league career.

NOTES: INF/DH Jesus Montero was activated from the minor league disabled list (knee) and went 1-for-5 with a triple and an RBI for Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners have announced that Montero, optioned on May 23 after batting .208 with three home runs and nine RBIs over 29 games, will not catch again this season. ... A quartet of Houston farmhands -- SS Carlos Correa, OF George Springer, 1B Jon Singleton and RHP Mike Foltynewicz -- earned spots on the midseason top 50 prospects lists produced by ESPN.com, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
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