Houston drops the middle game

Toro's slam off Graveman lifts Mariners over Astros

Astros' Kendall Graveman
Kendall Graveman's grand slam allowed to Abraham Toro was the difference in Tuesday's loss. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Kendall Graveman's grand slam allowed to Abraham Toro was the difference in Tuesday's loss.

After notching the comeback win the night before to start the series with a win, the Astros were hoping to lock up another series victory with a win in the middle game. Instead, the Mariners would set up a rubber game, getting a late grand slam, the lone run-scoring play of the night.

Final Score: Mariners 4, Astros 0

Astros' Record: 78-54, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Paul Sewald (9-3)

Losing Pitcher: Kendall Graveman (5-1)

Both starters stymie the opposing offense

Both teams would have chances but remain off the board against the opposing starter on Tuesday. Houston had a runner in scoring position in the second, fourth, and sixth innings against Yusei Kikuchi but would strand it each time as he would go seven scoreless innings for Seattle.

As for Lance McCullers Jr., he dealt with much more significant threats, starting in the bottom of the first, where he would load the bases on a single and two walks, eventually getting out of the lengthy inning unscathed. He rebounded with 1-2-3 innings in the second and third but would again find himself in trouble in the fourth. Like the first inning, he would load the bases but stranded all three runners, then returned for a 1-2-3 fifth, but with his pitch count elevated, he would end his night there. His final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 102 P.

Toro gets some revenge against his former team

That set up Houston's bullpen to take over in the bottom of the sixth, and first up was Yimi Garcia, who sat down the Mariners in order in the bottom of the sixth. Blake Taylor took over in the bottom of the seventh and did the same to keep the game gridlocked 0-0.

Still scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, former-Mariner Kendall Graveman came in, and in a "you can't make this stuff up" moment, he would load the bases to bring up Abraham Toro, setting up a battle of the players who were part of the trade for each other. Toro would come out on top, launching a grand slam to put Seattle in front 4-0.

Astros drop the middle game

After the grand slam, Graveman would be pulled in favor of Brandon Bielak, who retired both batters he faced to finish the eighth. In the top of the ninth, the Astros would put two runners on base but would again get turned away as Seattle would close out the win to even the series at a game apiece.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game series to decide the series victory will be an afternoon start, getting underway at 3:10 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 4.46 ERA) will be Houston's starter, going opposite Logan Gilbert (5-5, 5.44 ERA) for Seattle.

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The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.

While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.

First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.

The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.

Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.

The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.

Something to note

There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.

In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.

Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.

You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.

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