When the Seattle Mariners took a chance by pitching to Houston’s Yordan Alvarez instead of walking him with two on and one out in the 10th inning Sunday, the All-Star slugger was determined to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I just got focused and said I was going to be the one,” he said in Spanish through a translator.
And he was — hitting an RBI single to lift the Astros to a 3-2 win.
Mauricio Dubón started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and the Mariners intentionally walked Jose Altuve. Dubón advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel.
Alvarez then laced a grounder off Brennan Bernardino (0-1), who was making his MLB debut, to left field to send Dubón home and start the celebration.
“Tough place to make your Major League debut in,” manager Scott Servais said. “Tough situation when they start with the guy on second and here comes the Astros’ top of the lineup.”
Hector Neris (4-3) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win.
The Mariners were playing without star rookie Julio Rodríguez, who was placed on the injured list with a bruised right wrist Sunday after being hit by a pitch a night earlier.
The AL-West leading Astros scored two runs in the first inning to take the lead. The Mariners, who are 12 games back in second place in the division, used a two-run homer by Jesse Winker in the eight inning to tie it.
Houston’s win comes a night after Seattle scored two runs in the ninth to rally for a 5-4 victory. The victory gives the Astros a 3-1 advantage in the series.
“Once they tied it up, I think we got a lot of energy,” Alvarez said. “Then we told ourselves: ‘OK, we can’t lose today’s game like we did yesterday,’ and that was kind of part of it.”
Houston led 2-0 and the Mariners had managed just two singles when Ryne Stanek walked Adam Frazier with two outs in the eighth inning. Winker sent his next pitch into the seats in right field for his ninth homer of the season, tying it a 2.
The Mariners couldn’t get anything going against Jake Odorizzi, who allowed two hits and struck out a season-high eight in seven scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit until Frazier singled to start the fourth, and he walked Carlos Santana with two outs in the inning. But Odorizzi retired Eugenio Suárez to end the inning and the Mariners didn’t have another baserunner until another single by Frazier with one out in the sixth.
This time Odorizzi retired the next two batters before walking one in a scoreless seventh to end his day.
“He was very good today,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He had good command of his fastball and that’s the best splitter that I’ve seen him have. He had good stuff today and it was good to see him go and complete the seventh.”
Seattle rookie George Kirby yielded three hits and two runs while striking out seven in four innings.
Kirby plunked Altuve to start Houston’s first and he advanced to third on a single by Gurriel. Alvarez struck out for the first out of the inning, but Gurriel stole second and Altuve stole home on the play to make it 1-0.
Altuve slid in and tapped the base with his left hand just before catcher Cal Raleigh got the tag down to put the Astros on top.
There were two outs in the inning when Kyle Tucker singled on a grounder to right field to score Gurriel and extend the lead to 2-0.
Mariners: The Mariners also placed Dylan Moore on the injured list Sunday after the outfielder started having back spasms Saturday night. ... Seattle recalled outfielder Jarred Kelenic from Triple-A Tacoma and purchased the contract of outfielder Jack Larsen from Double-A Arkansas to take the spots of Rodríguez and Moore on the roster. ... 1B Ty France Sunday didn’t play Sunday after having an MRI on his sore left wrist. Servais said the MRI showed no structural damage but that he might be out a few days because of swelling in his wrist. ... Utilityman Sam Haggerty was not in the lineup Sunday, but pinch-ran in the 10th after getting stitches above his eye. He was injured after being hit in the forehead by his thrown helmet after failing to bunt in the ninth inning Saturday and tossing his gear in frustration. The helmet bounced back up and hit him in the head.
Mariners: Seattle LHP Marco Gonzales (6-10, 3.66 ERA) opposes New York RHP Domingo Germán (0-1, 8.22) when the Mariners begin a three-game series against the Yankees Monday night.
Astros: RHP Luis Garcia (8-6, 3.81) will start for Houston against RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 4.43) in the opener of a three-game series with Boston Monday night.
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