Mariners

M’s Winning Streak At Six Thanks To Franklin’s Slam

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Nick Franklin is congratulated after hitting a grand slam (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Nick Franklin is congratulated after hitting a grand slam (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston had plenty of problems in a second inning during which Seattle scored seven runs on Sunday.

Manager Bo Porter, however, was really irked about one of them.

Nick Franklin hit his first career grand slam in Seattle’s big second inning to back up a scoreless start by Felix Hernandez, and the Mariners rolled past the Astros 12-5 for their season-best sixth straight victory.

Several batters before Franklin’s slam, shortstop Jake Elmore had an error that left runners at first and second with no outs.

“You have a double play that is not made, not turned, and instead of it being two outs with nobody on base, it is first and second with nobody out,” Porter said. “The inning continues to snowball, you look up and at the end, there are seven runs. I have said this time and time again; you have to make the plays that should be made to win games at this level.”

Franklin’s slam, Seattle’s fifth this season, came off Jordan Lyles (4-4).

Lyles said he had trouble getting back on track following the error.

“After that, the stuff wasn’t as good,” he said. “I’ve said it multiple times, and I will continue to say it, errors are made. I make a lot of errors myself. The good ones turn the corner and get out of it. I wasn’t good today.”

Hernandez (11-4) scattered four hits with seven strikeouts over six innings to lower his AL-leading ERA to 2.43. He is 6-0 in his last 10 starts and hasn’t lost since May 25.

Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders drove in two runs each to help the Mariners wrap up a three-game sweep.

Lyles yielded eight hits and 10 runs, with a career-high nine earned, in four-plus innings to lose his third consecutive decision.

“Unfortunately, every batter was ahead, and I was having to come to them,” Lyles said. “I walked a couple guys, hit a guy. The balls that were put in play were hit pretty hard, and that was simply because I fell behind so many guys.”

The Mariners piled up 13 hits, a day after managing just one in a 4-2 win.

Hernandez didn’t allow a runner past first base until the fifth when Justin Maxwell reached on an error by Miller at shortstop and went to second on a wild pitch. Maxwell advanced to third on a one-out single by Elmore, but Hernandez left Houston empty-handed when Jose Altuve grounded into a double play.

Kendrys Morales singled to open the Seattle second and Kyle Seager reached on the error at shortstop by Elmore.

Michael Saunders drew a one-out walk to load the bases before an infield single by Ackley made it 1-0. A second run came home when Lyles plunked Henry Blanco with a pitch.

Miller’s RBI single pushed the lead to 3-0 before the grand slam by Franklin, off to an impressive start in his rookie season.

Lyles retired Raul Ibanez before finally escaping the inning when Morales came up again and grounded out.

Lyles settled down after that and retired six of his next seven batters. Things started going awry again in the fifth when Ibanez led off with a double before an RBI single by Morales made it 8-0. Lyles hit Seager with a pitch and was chased by Justin Smoak’s single.

Saunders grounded into a force out to add another run and the Mariners went up 10-0 on a sacrifice fly by Ackley.

Miller pushed the lead to 11-0 with an RBI single in the seventh and Saunders extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double in the eighth.

The Astros got a run-scoring single from Altuve in the seventh and tacked on four runs in the ninth to make it 12-5.

NOTES: Houston opens a series with the Athletics on Monday when Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.62 ERA) opposes Tommy Milone (8-8, 4.24). … The Mariners return home to begin a series against Cleveland, with Aaron Harang (4-8, 5.38) scheduled to pitch against Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.56). … It was the fourth time this season the Mariners scored 10 runs or more and the second in this series. … After the game, the Astros designated 1B-DH Carlos Pena and SS Ronny Cedeno for assignment and called up SS Jonathan Villar from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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