Toro pinch-hits for J-Rod, rallies Mariners over Astros 5-4

Abraham Toro scored a pinch hit for All-Star Julio Rodriguez and delivered a two-run, two-out single in the ninth inning as the Mariners edged past the Astros 5-4.

HOUSTON (AP) — Abraham Toro pinched for All-Star Julio Rodriguez and delivered a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Seattle Mariners edged the AL West leaders Houston Astros 5-4 on Saturday night.

Rodriguez was hit on the back of his hand while throwing in the eighth inning. He struck out but played on the field in the bottom half of the inning before being raised in the ninth.

Seattle manager Scott Servais said Rodriguez will take X-rays later on Saturday.

“He wasn’t comfortable with a racquet in his hand,” Servais said. “So we’re gonna pray it ain’t broke.”

The 21-year-old Rodriguez, who was 0-4 with three strikeouts, has 18 homers and 57 RBIs and is batting .274 in his rookie season.

The Mariners defeated Houston for the first time since June 8, giving the Astros a five-game losing streak.

Ryan Pressly (3-3) entered the ninth inning after making 21 of his 24 saves this season. Pressly gave up two runs on two hits, walked one and hit two in the loss in his first botched save since June 23, which came against the New York Yankees.

“He’s someone who’s generally aggressive, so I know he likes to attack the zone,” Toro, who played parts of three seasons with Houston, said via Pressly. “I’ve been swinging since the beginning.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker added: “He’s been a thorn in our side since we traded him over there. It was a big hit he got tonight.”

Erik Swanson (2-0) threw a scoreless eighth inning and earned the win, and Paul Sewald recorded his 13th save in 16 attempts.

“We’ve had some crazy wins and crazy games since I’ve been here,” said Servais. “This one might be at the top of the list of all the things that have happened and where we are.”

Seattle starter Chris Flexen laid down eight straight batters at one point, but played no part in the decision. Flexen allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and a strikeout in 5 1/3 innings. It was his third non-decision in his last eight starts.

Aledmys Diaz led the fifth into left field with a solo homer. Diaz has hit three homers in the last two games and nine for the season. Diaz finished 3 for 3 with two RBIs.

Down 3-2 in game seven, Houston rallied with back-to-back doubles from Martín Maldonado and Jose Altuve and a singles from Yuli Gurriel for a 4-3 lead.

Seattle pushed through three runs with singles from Eugenio Suárez and Adam Frazier and a fielder pick from JP Crawford in the first when Valdez hit two batters in the frame.

Valdez got in after the first, allowing three runs for five hits, walking one and batting seven in seven innings. It marks his leading 18th quality start in the majors and his 17th straight, the second-longest streak in Astros history.

“It’s been great for me to be able to recover from something like that,” Valdez said. “I just showed the intensity and focus I can have after having a tough inning to beat the rest of the game.”


Seattle’s Sam Haggerty was hit in the forehead by his thrown helmet after failing to catch a bunt in the ninth inning and throwing his tackle in frustration. The helmet rebounded, hitting him in the head.


Mariners: LHP Tommy Milone was put on the 15-day injured list on Saturday with a cervical muscle strain. As a result, Triple-A Tacoma’s LHP Brennan Bernardino was selected and OF Marcus Wilson was designated for assignment. … OF Dylan Moore left Saturday’s game with back spasms.


Mariners: George Kirby (2-3, 3.50 ERA) will make his first start against the Astros on Sunday to end the four-game streak. Last time out, Kirby didn’t make a decision against Texas, didn’t give up runs on two hits and knocked out four in five innings.

Astros: Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 4.25 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday and is trying to get back on the winning side. Odorizzi’s last win came on July 10 in Oakland. Last time out, Odorizzi was marked with seven hits for six runs in a loss to track and field. Toro pinch-hits for J-Rod, rallies Mariners over Astros 5-4

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