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Mariners 4, Astros 2

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders capped a methodical comeback with a two-run double to center field in the seventh inning, lifting the Mariners to a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

After the Mariners (45-52) walked their way back from a two-run deficit against Astros left-hander Erik Bedard (3-7) in the sixth, they capped their rally against right-hander Jose Cisnero, whose walk of Mike Zunino preceded Saunders' blast to Tal's Hill in straightaway center. Saunders' hit was the only one recorded by Seattle against four Houston pitchers.

The Mariners extended their winning streak to five games and improved to 10-5 in July. The Astros (33-63) lost for the 14th time in 17 games.

Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings. Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen notched his 21st save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Bedard did not surrender a hit while pitching into the seventh inning, but his waning lack of control, combined with the inability of Houston catcher Jason Castro to cleanly corral pitches, resulted in Bedard squandering a modest 2-0 lead in the sixth inning.

Bedard allowed his first base runner when Kendrys Morales opened the fifth with a walk. In the sixth, Bedard walked three batters, with Saunders and Brad Miller walking and advancing on the first of two passed balls. The second allowed Miller to score the tying run after Saunders came home on Nick Franklin's sacrifice fly to center field.

By the time Bedard walked Justin Smoak with one out in the seventh, it was clear that he was gassed at 109 pitches. He departed with a most curious line, allowing two unearned runs on no hits and five walks.

The Astros squandered a scoring opportunity in the third inning when Jake Elmore, Carlos Pena and Jose Altuve were retired in succession with Brandon Barnes and Matt Dominguez in scoring position. Houston capitalized in the fifth when Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma allowed consecutive hits to Dominguez and Elmore.

Altuve broke the scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly to right, and Castro followed by legging out an infield hit that scored Elmore for a 2-0 lead.

NOTES: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Friday night marked the first time in major league history that one rookie (Mariners SS Brad Miller) homered twice while another (Astros CF Brandon Barnes) hit for the cycle in the same game. ... Bedard recorded double digits in strikeouts for the 16th time in his career and the first time since July 23, 2012, when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bedard struck out 11 against the Chicago Cubs in a 2-0 loss.
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