Houston takes two of three in the series
Astros fall in extras as Mariners avoid series sweep
With the series victory already under their belt with wins on Friday and Saturday, the Astros tried to maintain their momentum going in Sunday's finale to complete the sweep and keep their new winning streak going. Although they would lead much of the game, Seattle would force extra innings, where they would eventually pull away to avoid getting swept.
Final Score (11 innings): Mariners 6, Astros 3
Astros' Record: 73-51, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Paul Sewald (8-3)
Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (1-3)
Houston jumps out front early
Let's get the paw-ty started. 🐾#ForTheHpic.twitter.com/iSgeFmuXqd
— Houston Astros (@astros) August 22, 2021
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Yordan Alvarez started the scoring on Sunday by leading off the bottom of the second with a solo homer, this third straight game with a home run. Yuli Gurriel followed him with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a groundout, then scored on an RBI double by Taylor Jones to double the new lead to 2-0. The two-run inning proved pivotal, as the score remained put there until late in the game.
Valdez cruises through seven shutout innings
That was the case due to a great outing by Framber Valdez. He erased a single and a walk in the second, a single in the fifth, and a single in the seventh, allowing just those four baserunners in his afternoon on the mound. He dealt with just one runner in scoring position all day, having his way with Seattle in a quality start. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 98 P.
Astros fall in extras
That left two frames for Houstons' bullpen to account for, and the eighth inning belonged to Kendall Graveman. Seattle challenged him with two outs, getting back-to-back doubles to get on the board. That made it a one-run game at 2-1 before Graveman finished the inning. Ryan Pressly took over in the ninth to try and get the save but was instead met with a leadoff solo homer to tie the game at 2-2, though he would retire the next three batters in order.
That meant if the Astros were to win, it would have to come via a walk-off. Their first chance came in the bottom of the ninth, but they would do nothing with it as they'd go down 1-2-3 to send the game to extra innings. Brooks Raley pitched the top of the tenth, and with some help by a heads-up defensive play by Carlos Correa to throw out the free runner at third on a groundball, was able to keep the game tied.
That put the winning run at second base to start the bottom of the tenth, which would be Lance McCullers Jr., pinch-running for Martin Maldonado, who recorded the final out of the ninth. He moved to third on a leadoff single by Jose Altuve before the Mariners intentionally walked Brantley to load the bases with no outs. The move paid off, as the next three batters would go down on strikeouts to keep the game going another inning.
Ryne Stanek took over out of the bullpen in the top of the eleventh, but before he could record an out allowed a go-ahead single to give Seattle their first lead of the day at 3-2. Things went from bad to worse from there, as he also allowed a three-run homer to extend the Mariners' new lead to 6-2. The Astros would get a run in the eleventh on a one-out RBI single by Jake Meyers, then proceeded to load the bases with one out, bringing the winning run to the plate. They'd once again strand them all, though, with the Mariners holding on to avoid getting swept.
Up Next: Having just played a four-game series against them in Kansas City, the Astros will wrap up the season series against the Royals with a three-game set in Houston starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. In the opener, the pitching matchup is scheduled to be Zack Greinke (11-3, 3.43 ERA) for the Astros going against Daniel Lynch (3-3, 5.12 ERA) for the Royals.
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