HOUSTON — Mike Zunino had a pursuit to do, and he was going to do it properly.
With runners on initial and second — interjection to dual errors on slight plays by a Houston infield — and no outs, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon asked his slugging catcher to lay down a scapegoat bunt to pierce a runners into scoring position.
Even yet Zunino had never put down a scapegoat bunt in his 174-game big-league career, he squared around on a initial 3 pitches though did not offer during them. With Astros starter Brad Peacock behind 2-1 in a count, McClendon called off a bunt and let Zunino representation away. And did he ever.
Zunino dejected a subsequent representation he saw from Peacock — a 91 mph fastball — off a sight marks in low left core some 50 feet above a personification surface.
His three-run homer sparked a seven-run fourth inning, and a Mariners cruised to a 10-5 win over Houston.
With a win, a Mariners (83-70) changed a half-game behind a Kansas City Royals, who were dejected 10-1 by Detroit, in a wild-card standings. Oakland kick Philadelphia, staying one diversion forward of Seattle.
McClendon isn’t large on tiny ball, though in a fourth inning of a 1-1 game, he felt it was necessary.
“We were perplexing to supplement on runs,” McClendon said.
Zunino wasn’t astounded he got a bunt sign, even that early in a game.
“It’s something we’ve talked about,” he said. “Obviously conflict down in that spot, we have to be means to situational hit, bunt, do whatever they need we to do. I’ve talked to Mac about it a few times and I’ve told him I’m means to do that.”
But he wasn’t unhappy when McClendon took a bunt off.
“I attempted to demeanour during a invulnerability and see how they were playing, and it looked like they were still meditative we was bunting,” he said. “So we only attempted to demeanour for a fastball down a middle, and we was means to get one.”
Zunino’s 21st homer of a deteriorate gave a Mariners a 4-1 lead. But they weren’t finished in a inning. With one out, a rattled Peacock pitched himself into difficulty with walks to Austin Jackson and Dustin Ackley.
Robinson Cano singled home Jackson to make it 5-1. Astros manager Tom Lawless carried Peacock for reliever Jake Buchanan. Kyle Seager worked a 2-0 count and afterwards sat on a fastball, belting it over a wall in right-center for a second three-run homer of a inning. It was Seager’s 24th home run of a season.
“To be means to have that large inning, we feel good about it,” Seager said. “Everybody can kind of breathe a small bit.”
The 8-1 lead was some-more than adequate for rookie Taijuan Walker. Making a mark start in place of Roenis Elias, Walker wasn’t overpowering, though he looked softened from his prior starts this season. Walker pitched 52/3 innings, giving adult dual runs on 8 hits with dual walks and 7 strikeouts to urge to 2-2.
“It wasn’t great,” he said. “I can really do better, though it was a good win for us. The offense scored a lot of runs. They put adult that seven-run inning, and after that we was only means to go out there and conflict a hitters.”
Walker showed some moxie in a third inning. With a measure 1-1, a Astros installed a bases on back-to-back singles and a travel to start a inning. Runs seemed imminent. Instead, Walker dug in and struck out Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro, afterwards got Matt Dominguez to fly out to finish a inning and concede his teammates to take a lead for good an inning later.
“I told myself: ‘You can’t let this man score. Can’t let this man score,’ ” he said.
It warranted him some honour from his manager.
“He showed a small restraint there,” McClendon said. “I was really unapproachable of him there. He never panicked and continued to govern pitches with purpose. we suspicion that was flattering good.”
After a prolonged tip of a fourth inning when a Mariners scored a 7 runs, Walker worked an fit 1-2-3 inning, aggressive hitters and wasting small time.
It was also a large night for Ackley, who strike a span of solo home runs, giving him 13 for a season.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @RyanDivish
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