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Maldonado, Valdez push Astros past Mariners 6-1

The Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 to close on their fourth straight playoff berth.
Credit: AP
Houston Astros' Martin Maldonado (15) motions as he crosses home plant in front of Seattle Mariners catcher catcher Luis Torrens on his three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — Martin Maldonado hit a three-run home run, Framber Valdez struck out eight to set career highs for wins and strikeouts, and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 to close on their fourth straight playoff berth.

Houston cut its magic number to one over the Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels for clinching second in the AL West.

The defending AL champions  have five games left. Maldonado's sixth homer, off reliever Brandon Brennan, highlighted a five-run sixth inning that included Michael Brantley's tiebreaking, leadoff home run against Casey Sadler.