Julio Rodríguez set a major league record with his 17th hit in four games, Dylan Moore homered twice, Logan Gilbert registered his 14th quality start of the season and the Seattle Mariners defeated the Houston Astros 10-3 for their fifth-straight win Saturday night.
“Julio is just smoking hot right now and it is fun to watch,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Every time up there he expects to get a hit, we expect to watch him get a hit. … Tonight obviously our offense was on it. We’ve seen Framber Valdez a lot, had really good at-bats tonight early on putting pressure on him.”
The Mariners, who are 13-3 in their last 16 games, pulled to 1 1/2 games behind the Astros for the second AL wild-card spot and maintained a 1/2 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for the third and final AL wild-card spot.
In the fifth inning, following Moore’s first home run, Houston starter Framber Valdez threw a pitch at the feet of Jose Caballero, which hit him in the lower part of his left leg. He hit the ground as he tried to get out of the way. Caballero got up, put his arms out and started walking and talking toward Valdez, who responded. This caused the benches to clear.
“Caballero reacted a little bit crazy there,” Valdez said. “It was a bad pitch, I hit him by mistake, it wasn’t intentional. Obviously, hit by pitches happen in a game. He reacted a little bit aggressively, so I reacted as well. It’s part of the game.”
Servais added: “Framber was frustrated is what I saw. Players handle it differently. He was frustrated.”
Caballero was not made available to reporters following the game.
Rodriguez was playing peacemaker as he hugged Valdez from behind and walked him away from the grouping at home plate back toward the mound. No punches were thrown and the situation deescalated. Warnings were issued to both the Astros and Mariners dugouts by home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman.
Jose Altuve in the fifth inning became the newest member of the 2,000-hit club. Altuve lined a 2-2 pitch from Gilbert into the left field corner. Altuve was trying to stretch the single into a double and was thrown out.
“We did a little champagne toast and they said some things about me and then I had to say some things about me, too,” Altuve said about the postgame clubhouse celebration. “It was good.”
Altuve is the third player in Houston Astros club history to reach 2,000 career hits. He is the fastest Astro to do it in just his 1,631st game. Altuve finished the night going 3 for 5 at the plate.
“That’s quite an accomplishment,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “A couple other Hall of Famers here got 2,000 hits. … Hopefully he can stay healthy and be around for the next 1,000.”
Gilbert (11-5) surrendered just two runs on eight hits, struck out three and walked one in six innings. Gilbert is 21-4 when pitching on the road in his career.
“Defense played great behind me, got out of some jams and that’s the main thing at this level,” Gilbert said. “Even with guys on, it’s not how you want it to go but find a way to make a pitch when you need to to get out of the inning.”
Rodriguez, with a single to left field in the seventh inning, broke a major league record set in 1925 by Milt Stock of the Brooklyn Robins. The previous record was 16 hits in four games. Rodriguez finished 4 for 6, giving him his fourth-consecutive four-plus hit game.
“Honestly, I knew when they put it on the scoreboard that I had set a record for a four-game span,” Rodriguez said of the record. “Before that, I didn’t know.”
In the fifth inning, with Seattle leading 4-2, Moore hit a two-run homer to right field, and then in the ninth inning blasted a solo homer to left field to make it 9-2. Moore finished 2 for 4 with two homers and three RBIs. This is Moore’s second multihomer game this season.
Sam Haggerty homered in the ninth with his first of the season making it 10-2. The Mariners clubbed 17 hits against Astros pitching.
Valdez (9-9) gave up six runs on 10 hits, striking out five and walking two in five innings. Valdez has given up 16 runs on 24 hits over his last three starts since throwing a no-hitter on Aug. 1 against the Cleveland Guardians.
“Trash,” Valdez said about his start. “I thought it was a bad outing for me. After the no hitter, I’ve been trying to pitch the exact same way I did that game. Been trying to execute my pitches and I haven’t been doing that.”
The Astros three runs came off solo homers by Alex Bregman, his 20th of the season, Yainer Diaz and Mauricio Dubón.
Astros: OF Kyle Tucker was out of the lineup for a second-straight game after missing Friday’s series opener against the Mariners due to an illness … IF Grae Kessinger was placed on the injured list due to health and safety protocols. OF Corey Julks was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his place on the active roster … OF Michael Brantley made another rehabilitation start with Triple-A Sugar Land on Saturday night.
Houston RHP Hunter Brown (9-8, 4.16 ERA) gets the start Sunday opposite Seattle RHP Emerson Hancock (0-0, 5.40) to close out the three-game series.