Saunders’ infield hit lifts M’s over Astros 3-1

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SEATTLE (AP) - A slight pause by Tony Sipp made all the difference for the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Michael Saunders barely beat Sipp to first base for a two-run infield single with two outs in the seventh inning to lift the Seattle Mariners to a 3-1 win over the Astros.

With the game tied at 1, the bases loaded, two outs and a full count, Saunders hit a chopper to first and narrowly outraced Sipp, who was covering the bag.

“It was so close, I didn’t know whose feet hit first,” Sipp said. “It could have gone either way. Looking back, I feel I could have got there quicker. It’s one of those things you can’t get back.”

A replay review showed Saunders did get to the bag first. The batters were running on the pitch, allowing two runs to score.

“It is tough to lose that way,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “We made the pitches to get out of it, but at the same time if we break right to the bag I think we get them.”

Jose Altuve homered on the game’s first pitch for the Astros, who have lost three in a row.

Houston starter Jarred Cosart (3-4) had kept Seattle’s offense largely bottled up until the seventh inning.

Dustin Ackley and Stefen Romero led off with singles and Cosart walked Nick Franklin to load the bases with no outs. Cosart struck out Mike Zunino before giving way to Sipp, who got pinch hitter Cole Gillespie to pop up before coming up just short of beating Saunders and getting out of the inning.

“It’s one of those things that will eat at me for a while,” Sipp said. “You try to assess the situation, see what was what and it was that little half second that I got beat by.”

Sipp had retired 21 consecutive batters before Saunders‘ single.

Tony came in and we felt like we were going to get out of it,” Porter said. “We were a groundball away and covering first from getting out of it.”

Cosart gave up three runs on five hits and over 6 1-3 innings.

“He was throwing a lot of fastballs, was working in and out pretty well,” Romero said.

Cosart struck out six but walked four, Cosart’s second straight start with four walks.

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