By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
HOUSTON — No problems here.
The Seattle Mariners completed a three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon against the Houston Astros by rallying back from an early deficit for a 5-2 victory at Minute Maid Park.
Logan Morrison’s two-run double keyed a four-run sixth inning that propelled the Mariners to their 13th victory in 17 games.
“You see, day in and day out now, what we’re capable of doing,” said left fielder Dustin Ackley, who contributed a second straight three-hit game to a balanced attack.
“I don’t think it’s a fluke anymore. Everybody is starting to see this is what we are capable of doing. We’ve done it consistently. Our pitching has been consistent. We’re in a good spot right now.”
Chris Young (8-4) surrendered a pair of solo homers but little else in his seven innings before Danny Farquhar, Yoervis Medina and Fernando Rodney closed out the victory.
Rodney pitched the ninth for his league-leading 24th save (in 26 chances). Young allowed no hits other than the two homers and walked just one while striking out a season-high eight.
“I don’t know where we would be without C.Y.,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He’s done a tremendous job for us, and today was no different. It was a quality start, from start to finish.”
The Mariners trailed 2-0 entering the sixth against Astros starter Brad Peacock, who opened the inning with his sixth strikeout before James Jones lined a one-out single over short.
Then Peacock (2-5) fell apart.
He hit Robinson Cano on the back of the leg before loading the bases by walking Kyle Seager on four pitches.
Next, Peacock bounced two pitches to Morrison, and the second one got past catcher Carlos Corporan. Jones scored, and the other runners moved to second and third.
Peacock finally threw a strike on the next pitch, and Morrison pulled it past first baseman Jon Singleton for a two-run double. That quickly, the Mariners led 3-2.
“I was looking for a fastball,” Morrison said, “because he hadn’t thrown many strikes in that last inning. I was looking for a fastball right down the middle, was able to get one and it found a hole.”
The Mariners weren’t done.
John Buck grounded a single up the middle that scored Morrison and finished Peacock. In came Anthony Bass, who was activated prior to the game from the disabled list after missing nearly two months.
Bass ended the inning without further damage, but Peacock’s final line showed four runs and six hits in 51⁄3 innings.
“(Peacock) just lost command of the strike zone,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “He was in a complete groove and what we felt like complete control of the game.
“Then (Peacock) had the hit batter where he held on to a cut fastball too long. Then he was not able to get back in the zone.”
The Mariners extended their lead to 5-2 against Bass in the seventh after Cano poked a double into the left-field corner and barely beat the throw to the second from Domingo Santana.
Seager followed with a RBI single that beat the shift and scored Cano.
“I thought, early on, we were pretty flat,” McClendon said. “They guy was pitching pretty good. Then the ball behind Robby seemed to rattle the pitcher, and it seemed to energize us a little.”
The Mariners, at 47-38, are nine games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2007 season at 88-74. The also closed to within 41/2 games of first-place Oakland in the American League West Division.
“We still have a lot to prove,” Young said. “We haven’t played our best baseball yet. We’ll keep getting better. … We don’t care what the external expectations are. We know what we expect of ourselves.”
Morrison’s double was the decisive blow in a 10-hit attack — and that’s the magic number. The Mariners are 27-4 when they get 10 or more hits.
“With our pitching,” Morrison said, “we know if we put up a crooked number, we’ll be fine. We have great pitching and great defense. So it’s up to the offense to score some runs and win ballgames.
“We know Cano is going to hit. If me and Seager are hitting, that’s going to be a big plus for us.”