Houston holds on to a lead

After partnering for trade, Astros even series with Mariners with a win

Houston built an early lead again on Tuesday and this time held it to even the series against the Mariners. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Fresh off an afternoon trade between the two teams which sent Abraham Toro and Joe Smith from Houston in return for Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero from Seattle, and after the major comeback by the Mariners to take the opener on Monday night, the Astros got back to work on Tuesday night with Lance McCullers Jr. on the mound trying to even the series.

Final Score: Astros 8, Mariners 6

Astros' Record: 62-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (8-2)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (9-5)

Astros build another large early lead

Much like the night before, the Astros set the tone in the top of the first inning to grab an early lead with a big inning, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer by Yordan Alvarez to make it 3-0. Unlike Monday's game, however, Seattle wasted no time responding, getting a two-run blast of their own off of Lance McCullers Jr. in the bottom of the inning, making it a one-run game at 3-2.

The Astros continued to give Seattle's starter Chris Flexen trouble in the top of the fourth, putting together another multi-run inning with a two-RBI double by Myles Straw and RBI single by Martin Maldonado, who would later score on a wild pitch, making it 7-2. With the early transition to their bullpen in the top of the fifth, Seattle allowed another run to make it a six-run game after an RBI single by Aledmyz Diaz made it 8-2.

McCullers Jr. goes six but allows four

Meanwhile, McCullers Jr. was rebounding well from the early homer he allowed, allowing just two baserunners in the second through fifth innings, one on a single and one on a walk. He remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, where after a quick first out would falter by loading the bases on a single and two walks to set up a two-RBI single to make it a four-run game. Even with his pitch count surpassing 100, Houston stuck with him, and he would finish the frame with his seventh and eighth strikeout of the night to end the frame. His final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 109 P.

Toro homers for his new team, but Astros hold on to even the series

First out of Houston's bullpen was Blake Taylor in the bottom of the seventh, who posted a 1-2-3 frame on 15 pitches to maintain the lead. Next was Ryne Stanek in the bottom of the eighth, and he did the same as Taylor, sitting down the Mariners in order, sending the game to the ninth. After being unavailable the night prior due to pitching the two days prior, Ryan Pressly entered to close things out in the bottom of the ninth, coming in with the score still 8-4.

After a leadoff single, the Mariners brought in Abraham Toro, acquired from Houston earlier in the day, to pinch-hit. He trimmed the lead to two runs with his first homer for his new team, a two-run blast to make it 8-6. Despite putting two more on base on a walk and single, Pressly would get the final out to close out the win for Houston to even the series.

Up Next: The two teams will wrap up this series with a 2:40 PM afternoon start on Wednesday for the rubber game. The Astros will hand the ball to Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.23 ERA), while the Mariners will start Yusei Kikuchi (6-5, 3.95 ERA).

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