Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/22/13
For the Seattle Mariners, the Houston Astros have been an unexpected road block this season.  Despite the Astros’ residence in last place, Seattle went 4-5 against Houston in the first half of the season, including Houston taking two of the three series.  But July has been a different story for the Mariners.  Seattle, after earning just one three-game sweep in the first half of the season, made it two in a row and earned their first road sweep taking three straight from Houston.  .500 is within sight, as Seattle pulled to 46-52 on the season, one game back of the Angels for third place in the A.L. West. Offensive Heroes.  In my article on a possible second half surge, I stated the key would be the young bats continuing to produce.  The Mariners hit that nail on the head.  Powered by the young bats, they put up double-digit runs twice in Houston.  Michael Saunders was the only Mariner to get a hit in every game of this series, and he delivered the key blow, a 2 RBI double, to power Seattle past Houston 4-2 on Saturday.  In that game, Seattle had just one hit, none of the starter ex-Mariner Erik Bedard, but took advantage of walks to get enough runners to take the 4-2 win.  The Mariners hit four home runs in the opener in a 10-7 win: Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak each had one with Brad Miller hitting two, the first two of his career.  Nick Franklin hit a Grand Slam on Sunday, putting the Mariners out to a 7-0 second inning lead that they never looked back from in a 12-5 win. The barrage of the young bats continued Sunday when Nick Franklin hit a second inning Grand Slam breaking the game open and insuring a sweep of the Houston Astros. Starting Pitching.  The Mariners had their three strongest starters going, and each took advantage of the increased run production to pick up a victory.  Joe Saunders moved to 9-8 on the season on Friday, limiting the Astros to three ER in 5.1 IP.  Hisashi Iwakuma has hopefully shrugged off a cold spell, winning his second straight start on Saturday in the 4-2 win.  Iwakuma limited Houston to two ER in 7.0 IP while striking out seven Astros.  The ace was up on Sunday, and Felix Hernandez wasn’t going to waste a 10-0 lead.  Hernandez cruised in picking up his eleventh victory of the season, allowing 0 ER in 6 IP on four hits while striking out seven. Back Home Again.  The Mariners are a good week away from being back to .500.  This may ring familiar to Mariners fans; after taking two of three from the Yankees in New York the team was 20-21 going into Cleveland.  Three walk-off wins later the Indians took a four-game sweep, and Seattle went into a tail spin, losing eight in a row before righting the ship.  Seattle is on another high note, and here come those same Indians.  The Mariners will play the next seven at home: three against those pesky Indians and then four against the Twins.  Cleveland is in the middle of a six-game road trip having lost two of three in their first series on the trip to Minnesota.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Three NBA teams achieve separation in LaMarcus Aldridge chase

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dallas Mavericks solidify future with Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan signings

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.