Houston drops the middle game

Toro's slam off Graveman lifts Mariners over Astros

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

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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1. Davis Mills had an up-and-down day under center Friday. One play saw Mills drop back and try to get rid of the ball as Jonathan Greenard was rushing him only to have Greenard leap up and intercept Mills for what would have been an interception returned for a score.

2. A few plays later Davis Mills showcased his short memory. Mills surveyed the field, looked off the safety, and pitched a strike to Brevin Jordan over the middle, wide open, for a touchdown.

3. Davis Mills doesn’t stack bad plays. It is rare to see multiple bad plays happen in a row and Mills be the cause, or a cause, of the play not working. When he misses something, he usually makes up for it the next play.

4. It was a makeshift offensive line on Friday. Max Scharping played a lot at left guard. Charlie Heck saw some snaps at left tackle while Laremy Tunsil took a breather. Veteran lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played some at right tackle. There was plenty of work emphasized on the rushing attack Friday. The offensive line was fine, nothing special. I would say slight edge to the defense overall.

5. Rookie Kenyon Green didn’t practice. Right tackle Tytus Howard didn’t practice either. Pro Football Network is reporting Tytus Howard is out with a positive Covid test. Kenyon Green was banged up last practice, but Lovie Smith expects both back in the coming days.

6.The offensive line had its hands full with the defensive line today. Jonathan Greenard made the above-mentioned play of the practice with an interception. It felt constantly like there was some level of success from the defensive line. Not to say they dominated, but I would think the defense is happy with their day.

7. Maliek Collins has been a nice player in camp. He looks a bit quicker than last year. Collins downplayed how many “close” plays he had last year citing that everyone knows the saying “close but no cigar.” I asked him if he expected a lot of cigars this year. He chuckled and said yes. Teammate Roy Lopez gushed about what he believes Collins can be for this team and called his teammate one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

8. I almost wonder if quiet Derek Stingley days are good days. Stingley wasn’t involved in a lot of plays, but I know Davis Mills saw him on Friday. Mills dropped back on one play and made a read to his left seeing Chris Moore. Stingley darted from coverage towards Moore causing Mills to move off Moore and head to Nico Collins for a score. Yes, the defense allowed a touchdown, but Stingley did his job.

9. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a “starting” safety for the team according to Lovie Smith. Pitre had an interception, depending on who you ask, in practice. It is clear the Texans trust him and have put a lot on his plate. I would expect to see a lot of the rookie safety, good or bad, this season.

10. Lovie Smith praised the team’s depth at linebacker earlier in camp. I scoffed a little at the notion, but there seems to be a new linebacker making a play each day. Christian Kirksey had a nice stop in the run game today. Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played very little last year, has flashed. There’s some depth here, despite my skepticism.

11. Ka'imi Fairbairn doesn’t have a challenger in camp this year. I believed this offseason should have seen at the very least someone to challenge the kicker heading into his seventh year in the league. He’s been solid in camp so far, but there have been some misses. It is tough to judge distance, but the team clearly has faith in him with no challenger in sight.

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