Mariners’ Cano gives credit to Jones

HOUSTON — Robinson Cano had a quick answer to explain the Seattle Mariners’ offensive breakout that produced 10-4 and 13-2 victories in the first two games against the Astros.

James Jones.

“I was saying to Howard (Johnson), our hitting coach the other day,” Cano related, “‘Hey, we’ve been winning games, and (Jones) hasn’t been getting on base.

“Wait until you see how many we’re going to score when he starts getting on base (again).’ That’s happened the last two days.”

Jones went 4-for-5 with two runs and three steals in Monday’s victory; then went 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBI in Tuesday’s victory.

So what happened Wednesday?

Houston led 2-0 when Jones lined a one-out single in the sixth inning. The Mariners went on to score four runs in what turned into a 5-2 victory.

Streak snapped

The Mariners’ streak of 46 consecutive games without an unearned run, an American League record, ended in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 13-2 victory over the Astros.

An error by shortstop Brad Miller on a leadoff grounder by Domingo Santana eventually led to a run against reliever Dominic Leone.

The Mariners’ streak dated to May 11, when an error by third baseman Kyle Seager led to two unearned runs in the third inning of a 9-7 loss to Kansas City at Safeco Field.

The only longer streak in the majors since 1914 was a 48-game run by St. Louis in 2009.

Starting strong

Mariners leadoff hitters are batting .316 (24-for-76) with eight walks in the first inning of games. They have also reached three times on errors.

Endy Chavez has a .600 on-base percentage in 20 games as the leadoff hitter in the first inning even after striking out in Wednesday’s game. He is 10-for-18 with two walks.

Rehab updates

First baseman Justin Smoak and outfielder/DH Corey Hart are closing in on the 20-day limits for rehab playing assignments at Class AAA Tacoma.

Smoak is 9-for-41 (.220) with one homer and three RBI in 11 games since beginning his stay on June 18 for a strained left quadriceps muscle. He missed Tuesday’s game because of general soreness.

Hart is 11-for-36 (.306) with one homer and four RBI in nine games since the June 21 start of his assignment. He is expected to begin playing the outfield as the final test to his recovery.

Short hops

The international signing period opened Wednesday. The Mariners are expected to sign Venezuelan outfielder Brayan Hernandez, who is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 international prospect. Baseball America also reported the Mariners reached a deal with Dominican outfielder Danny DeJesus Contreras, who was not ranked among the magazine’s top 30 prospects. … Fernando Rodney leads the American League with 24 saves. That also matches J.J. Putz’s 2007 total for the second-most in club history prior to the All-Star break. Kazuhiro Sasaki had 29 prior to the 2001 break. … Cano started Wednesday as the American League leader with a .379 average (25-for-66) with runners in scoring position…The Astros activated right-handed reliever Kevin Bass from the disabled list. He had been out since May 11 because of a strained rib cage. Lefty reliever Kevin Chapman was optioned to Class AAA Oklahoma City.

Minor details

Outfielder Alex Jackson, the Mariners’ top pick in the June draft, was picked by Baseball America as its High School Player of the Year.

Jackson, 18, batted .400 with 11 homers and 31 RBI for Rancho Bernardo High School in Escondido, Calif., prior to his selection by the Mariners with the sixth overall pick.

After agreeing to a $4.2 million signing bonus, Jackson was assigned to Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League. He was 8-for-20 in five games through Tuesday.

Looking back

It was one year ago today — July 3, 2013 — that Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning that provided the winning margin in a 4-2 victory at Texas.

Seager’s homer was a two-out drive to right field against Robbie Ross and followed a walk by Michael Saunders. Felix Hernandez worked the first seven inning and limited the Rangers to two runs and seven hits.

On deck

The Mariners have an open date today in Chicago before starting a three-game weekend series at 4:10 p.m. Pacific time Friday against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rookie Roenis Elias (7-6 with a 3.96 ERA) will face Chicago ace Chris Sale (7-1 and 2.30) in a match-up between two left-handers. Root Sports will carry the game.

The series continues with games at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time Saturday and Sunday before the Mariners return home to complete the pre-All-Star Game portion of their schedule with series against Minnesota and Oakland.

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