HOUSTON (AP) — Jarred Kelenic hit a two-run double to back up a strong start by Logan Gilbert and give the Seattle Mariners a 3-1 win over Houston Astros on Sunday.
Gilbert (7-5) allowed just three hits in seven innings, with his only mistake coming when Martín Maldonado connected on a solo homer off him in the sixth.
“We’ve just really seen the emergence of his breaking ball, the slider, the curveball and he still has a good fastball,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “But he’s really pitching well. Not just throwing well, he’s pitching well.”
Matt Brash threw a scoreless eighth and Paul Seawald struck out two in the ninth for his 17th save.
The Mariners won three of four games in this series to head into the All-Star break having won seven of their past nine games.
“Really outstanding road trip,” Servais said. “We needed to respond and our guys certainly did. We played against two really good teams and to win the last three series in a row, kind of gives us a little boost here going the All-Star break.”
Maldonado homered for a second straight game for the Astros, who had won four straight before losing this series.
The Astros end the first half just two games behind first-place Texas in the AL West despite their recent slide.
Manager Dusty Baker said he feels pretty good about their position after a first half filled with injuries to stars including Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve.
“If anybody had told me that we’d be two games out with all that has happened, injuries and different things that we had, I’d say I’d be happy to have that,” Baker said.
“I’m just not happy at the moment,” says Baker.
Houston starter Brandon Bielak (4-5) allowed four hits and three runs — two earned — in five innings for the loss.
Julio Rodríguez got things going for the Mariners in the fourth when he reached on a throwing error by Jeremy Peña with no outs.
Rodríguez stole second base before Bielak plunked Ty France.
Teoscar Hernandez then smacked a line drive to center field to score Rodríguez and make it 1-0.
Kelenic’s double came with one out to score two runs and push the lead to 3-0.
Houston had just two hits — both singles in the second inning — when Maldonado homered to the front row of the seats in right field to start the sixth inning and cut the lead to 3-1.
Gilbert got right back on track after the homer, retiring the next six batters, with four strikeouts, to end his day.
Astros: RHP José Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation) threw 40 pitches in a two-inning simulated game Sunday. Baker said that was the last step before he begins a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Sugar Land. … DH Yordan Alvarez (right oblique strain) took batting practice on the field for a third straight day Saturday.
I’LL TAKE THAT
Mike Ford hit a comebacker that reliever Phil Maton deflected with his glove with one out in the ninth inning. The ball sailed into the air and Peña grabbed it to make a nifty catch.
The Mariners resume play after the All-Star break at home against Detroit on Friday and the Astros begin a series at the Los Angeles Angels that night.
For more local and national news, visit Fox Sports Texarkana’s website.