Ty France’s ground-rule double scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the host Seattle Mariners rallied to defeat the short-handed Houston Astros 6-5 Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
Seattle’s Evan White hit a solo homer in the eighth to tie the score at 5-5.
Mariners left-hander Anthony Misiewicz (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the victory. Houston right-hander Ryne Stanek (0-1) took the loss.
Stanek opened off the bottom of the ninth by walking J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger on nine pitches. Right-hander Ryan Pressly was brought on, but France lined a 1-1 pitch into the gap in right-center field, the ball taking one hop over the wall.
The Astros were without Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia, who landed on the injured list Wednesday due to COVID-19 protocols.
After being held hitless by Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi for the first four innings, the Astros struck for three runs in the fifth.
With one out, Carlos Correa lined a single to center and Taylor Jones walked. Alex De Goti, making his major league debut, hit a run-scoring single to right, with Jones scoring on outfielder Dylan Moore’s throwing error. Chas McCormick lined a double to left to make it 3-0.
The Mariners got on the board in the sixth. Mitch Haniger led off by hitting a grounder off the glove of right-hander Jose Urquidy, with the ball ending up in right field. A wild pitch advanced Haniger to second, and he stopped at third on France’s double to left. Kyle Seager then lined a two-run double to right to make it 3-2.
Urquidy got two more outs before lefty Brooks Raley came on to strike out Taylor Trammell to end the inning.
Urquidy went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Kikuchi was left in after loading the bases in the seventh, and he gave up a two-run single to left by Aledmys Diaz to make it 5-2.
Kikuchi went seven innings, yielding five runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Mariners scored two runs of their own in the seventh to pull within 5-4. Haniger had a run-scoring single and France added a sacrifice fly.
De Goti led the Astros with two hits and two runs. For the Mariners, Haniger finished 3-for-4 while France and White contributed two hits apiece.
–Field Level Media