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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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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