Mariners stay in race with win over Astros

George Kirby pitched six scoreless innings as the Seattle Mariners bolstered their flagging playoff hopes with a 6-2 victory against the visiting Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Ty France homered for the Mariners (85-72), who snapped a four-game losing streak and pulled within a half-game of Houston (86-72) for the American League’s third and final wild-card playoff berth.

Kirby (12-10) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four. After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, the right-hander retired the side in order in the next three innings.

Justin Topa relieved Kirby in the seventh but didn’t record an out, hitting Yanier Diaz with a pitch and then giving up singles to Chas McCormick and Pena. Matt Brash came on and allowed a sacrifice fly to Jon Singleton before catching Jose Altuve looking at a called third strike and getting Alex Bregman to ground into a forceout.

The Astros scored in the ninth off Mariners closer Andres Munoz. Altuve hit a two-out single after McCormick was hit by a pitch and Pena singled.

Houston’s Cristian Javier (9-5) took the loss. The right-hander gave up four runs (three earned) on three hits in 4 2/3 innings, with three walks and six strikeouts.

The Mariners scored twice in the third and added three runs in the fifth, both times helped by Houston errors.

In the third, Mike Ford and Ty France led off with back-to-back singles to right. Josh Rojas lined out to deep right, with both runners tagging. Altuve’s relay throw to nab Ford at third sailed into the stands, allowing Ford to trot home and France to advance to third. After a walk to J.P. Crawford, Julio Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0.

In the fifth, Rojas lined a single to left and stole second. With two outs, Rodriguez drew a walk, ending Javier’s night. Rafael Montero allowed an RBI single to right by Cal Raleigh.

Kyle Tucker’s throw to third skipped past Bregman and into the camera well adjacent to the dugout, letting Rodriguez score and Raleigh to take third. Teoscar Hernandez grounded a single into left to extend the lead to 5-0.

France hit a solo shot to left-center with two outs in the eighth, off Ryne Stanek.