Mariners win with late rally, Williams save
Thanks to an eighth-inning rally and a big save by a Portland-area player, the Seattle Mariners nailed down their first win Sunday at Houston's Minute Maid Park.
Shed Long tied the game with an RBI single and Kyle Lewis hit the go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning and Camas High product Taylor Williams struck out three batters in the bottom of the ninth inning as Seattle beat the Astros 7-6.
They weren't just any three batters that Williams struck out. It was George Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.
Preston Tucker led off the ninth with a double, and then Williams caught Springer looking for a strikeout. He then struck out Altuve on a slider, before giving up an RBI double to Michael Brantley. Williams then got Bregman swinging on a 3-2 slider to end the game.
The win ended a 15-game Seattle losing streak to the Astros, including 12 in a row at Minute Maid Park. The four-game series concludes at 4:10 p.m. PT with Kendall Graveman pitching opposite Houston's Josh James. Houston won the first two games against Seattle before the Mariners broke through.
"We have a lot of really happy young players right now," manager Scott Servais said.
It was Williams' first career save.
"Really impressed by Taylor," Servais said. "The reports from Arizona (from coaches) working with some pitchers were so positive about what Taylor was working on. Then I saw it with my own eyes in summer camp, I thought he was one of our best pitchers. The ability to go the breaking ball at any point ... you have to make pitches."
The Astros, the defending American League champs and a Seattle nemesis in the A.L. West, have possibly lost ace Justin Verlander for the season because of an elbow injury, as reported by the Houston Chronicle on Sunday. Manager Dusty Baker said after the game that it was a forearm strain and Verlander would be reevaluated later.
Long had two hits and two RBIs. Lewis had hit homers in the first two games, and then followed up with the big RBI single; he had two hits.
The Mariners had 11 hits, including three by Tim Lopes (who had two runs scored) and another RBI hit from Kyle Seager.
Neither Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi nor Houston's Zack Greinke were effective early. Seattle relievers, however, allowed only four hits and had eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Seattle's eighth-inning rally came off Chris Devenski. Lopes, who singled and stole second base, scored on Long's single. Austin Nola, who had walked, and Long scored on Lewis' RBI single.
"Quality at-bats up and down the lineup, and Kyle Lewis again, big knock into right field," Servais said.
Williams is a 2010 Camas High (Washington) graduate. He appeared in 71 games in the past three seasons with Milwaukee. He has a 5.15 career ERA.
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