In surprising spot, Scribner plays stopper

Reliever spent 5 months on DL before stepping in for Seattle

In surprising spot, Scribner plays stopper

HOUSTON -- As the Mariners make a push for October, they're getting a big boost from a guy who didn't play a game for them until September.

Reliever Evan Scribner, who spent the season's first five months on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, slammed the door on the Astros' comeback bid with two more scoreless innings of relief before Seattle pulled away for a 12-4 win in Wednesday's crucial series finale at Minute Maid Park.

"It's awesome," the 30-year-old said of parachuting into a postseason run after his season of frustration. "It's hard to describe. I'm still kind of happy just to be playing. I have a different perspective on this team than everybody else, just watching every day on TV while I was in Arizona rehabbing. It's really fun playing with a team you were watching on TV."

While the Mariners' offense -- led by three-run homers by Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager -- will understandably get much of the credit for keeping Seattle's hopes alive, Scribner provided a huge momentum killer to the Astros after they'd cut a seven-run lead to 7-4 and had the tying run at the plate with no outs in the sixth.

Cano's three-run homer

Nick Vincent replaced starter James Paxton to start that frame, but he gave up three straight hits -- including a leadoff homer to Evan Gattis -- before manager Scott Servais beckoned Scribner.

The right-hander turned the tide back the Mariners' way by striking out Teoscar Hernandez and pinch-hitter Tony Kemp, and then getting George Springer to ground out.

Scribner, who was acquired from the A's last winter, added a scoreless seventh, and he now has thrown 12 1/3 innings with no runs, five hits, two walks and 14 strikeouts since coming off the DL on Sept. 1.

"Scribner was awesome today. He really saved the game for us," said Paxton, who got the win with his five innings of three-run ball to improve to 6-7.

Scribner came into a hairy situation with the two runners on, but he showed again how valuable he can be as he's now retired the first batter he's faced in nine of 10 situations.

"I haven't done it for a while, but I'm just sticking to the same game plan, throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys," Scribner said.

That recipe is why general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired Scribner last offseason for Minor League pitcher Trey Cochran-Gill.

"The biggest thing for him, he just throws strikes," Servais said. "He does not walk people, knock on wood. But the big at-bat, he makes the great pitch to Tony Kemp and has the couple punchouts and gets out of it.

"We really needed it. Nick Vincent just didn't have it today. He's been really awesome about the last 10 or 11 times out. But you have those days where it just didn't look good, and it was time to go to Scrib, and he certainly picked us up."

Scribner said there were times he wondered if he'd even be pitching in the Majors again, let alone in key games down the stretch.

"I watched every game when I was there, but it's still hard to watch everybody else playing and having fun and winning and I'm stuck doing nothing," Scribner said. "But I stayed on it, got through the rehab and I'm happy to be back here."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.