Wait over for Wedge as Mariners edge Astros

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- It was a moderately interesting side note from the Mariners' first victory in eight days, but one especially noteworthy for Seattle manager Eric Wedge.
For the first time since July 21, Wedge made the victorious walk from the Seattle dugout and shook hands with his elated players and coaching staff. On that day the Mariners, incidentally, defeated the Houston Astros, and Thursday night they did so again, 3-2 at Minute Maid Park.
Mariners' relievers Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina and Danny Farquhar worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings to preserve the victory, the first for Wedge since he returned from a month-long heath hiatus.
"It's been about a month and a half," said Wedge, who suffered a stroke during batting practice on July 22 and returned to the dugout Aug. 23. "I told (the game broadcast dugout reporter) when I was walking on the field that it's been about a month and a half since I shook hands on the field for multiple reasons. It felt good to get out there and shake hands."
The Mariners (60-73) snapped a six-game skid thanks in part to their bullpen, which inherited a one-run lead from Erasmo Ramirez (5-1), who struck out seven before running into trouble in the sixth inning.
Furbush entered with runners on the corners and two outs and induced a flyout from Astros first baseman Brett Wallace that sent center fielder Dustin Ackley to the warning track. Furbush retired the first two batters in the seventh before Medina emerged and struck out Robbie Grossman. Medina got two called third strikes to close his perfect eighth inning.
Farquhar worked around a leadoff walk to Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez en route to notching his 10th save this season. Farquhar induced Wallace to roll into a 1-6-3 double play to complete the wire-to-wire victory and make the Mariners' early power surge stand.
Second baseman Nick Franklin gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a homer to left field off Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7).
"Things have been going a little rough. Lately I've just been trying to think about trying to put the ball in play and making contact," Franklin said of his 12th homer. "It did feel good to get it to 3-2 and work the count."
In the fourth, Seattle right fielder Franklin Gutierrez pushed the lead to 3-0 with a shot to left field, his seventh homer this season. That was the fifth homer allowed by Lyles over his last two appearances as a starter.
"Any home run is tough to take," Lyles said. "Overall, the ball wasn't getting that down action like I saw earlier this year. A lot of flyball outs (seven to outfielders). The outfielders did a heck of a job for me out there running down balls. That's due to the fact that that is a good opposite field team putting good swings on the ball and me not throwing the ball like I should be throwing it. The defensive guys, especially the outfielders, did a good job of keeping the game close for me."
The Astros (44-89) flexed power of their own in mounting a comeback. Jason Castro crushed a run-scoring double to straightaway center field in the fourth inning that scored L.J. Hoes from first base and cut the deficit to two runs. Wallace opened the fifth inning with a solo blast to right field, his 12th homer of the season, to cut the Seattle lead to 3-2.
But the Astros failed to take advantage of their final legitimate chance to pull even in the sixth. Once Wedge made the call to his bullpen, all that was left were the celebratory handshakes one month in the making.
"We had a few opportunities to get some runs there," Wallace said. "In those situations, you have to do everything you can to try to get the guys in. You have to tip your cap to them because they made some good pitches when they had to. A couple opportunities that we left out there, and those are the ones that you can't give away."
NOTES: Astros C Carlos Corporan is progressing through concussion rehab tests and could take live batting practice on Sunday. Corporan, placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Aug. 20, remained in Houston while the Astros played the White Sox in Chicago and worked on conditioning drills. ... Mariners RHP prospect Taijuan Walker will make his major league debut on Friday night. He was at Minute Maid Park briefly Thursday but had to dugout before the game because he won't officially join the roster until a corresponding move is made.

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