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 te 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.

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