HOUSTON – Abraham Toro pinch-hit for injured All-Star Julio Rodriguez with a two-run single in the ninth inning as the Seattle Mariners rolled past the AL-West-leading Houston Astros 5-4 on Saturday night.
Rodriguez was hit on the back of his hand as he swung for a pitch in the top of the eighth inning. He struck out but fielded in the bottom half of the inning before being lifted in the ninth.
Seattle manager Scott Servais said Rodriguez will get X-rays later Saturday.
“He didn’t feel comfortable with the bat in his hand,” Servay said. “So we’re going to pray that it doesn’t break.”
Rodriguez, 21, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, has 18 homers and 57 RBI and is batting .274 in his rookie season.
The Mariners beat Houston for the first time since June 8, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Astros.
Ryan Pressley (3-3) entered the ninth inning having made 21 of 24 saves this season. Pressley gave up two runs on two hits, walked one and struck out two in his first shutout since June 23 against the New York Yankees.
“He’s an aggressive guy in general, so I know he likes to attack the zone,” Presley said of Thoreau, who played three seasons with Houston.
Astros manager Dusty Baker added, “He’s been a thorn in our side since we traded him there. It was a big blow that he got tonight.”
Eric Swanson (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the win and Paul Sewald picked up his 13th save in 16 starts.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve had some crazy wins, crazy games,” Servais said. “That might be at the top of the list with all the things that have happened and where we are.”
Seattle starter Chris Flexen had eight straight at one point, but was not involved in the decision. Flexen allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and a strikeout in 5 1/3 innings. It was his third loss in his last eight starts.
Aledmys Diaz led off the fifth with a solo homer to left field. Diaz has hit three home runs in his last two games and nine on the season. Diaz finished 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Houston rallied on doubles by Martin Maldonado and Jose Altuve and a single by Yuli Gurriel to take a 4-3 lead.
Seattle overcame three runs on singles by Eugenio Suarez and Adam Frazier and a fielder’s choice by J.J. P. Crawford in the first when Valdez had two shots in the frame.
Valdez settled down after the first and allowed three runs on five hits, walking one and striking out seven in seven innings. It marks his 18th quality start and 17th in a row, the second-longest streak in Astros history.
“It was important for me to recover from something like that,” Valdes said. “Just to show the intensity and concentration that I can have after a tough pitch to be able to give the rest of the game.”
THE HELMET HURTS
Seattle’s Sam Haggerty was cut on the forehead after failing to make a save in the ninth inning and threw his helmet in frustration. The helmet bounced off and hit him in the head.
Mariners: LHP Tommy Milone was placed on the 15-day injured list Saturday with a neck strain. As a result, LHP Brennan Bernardino was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma and OF Marcus Wilson was designated for assignment. … OF Dylan Moore left Saturday’s game with back spasms … OF Sam Hagerty also left Saturday’s game late with an undisclosed injury.
Mariners: George Kirby (2-3, 3.50 ERA) should get his first start against the Astros on Sunday to close out a four-game hitting streak. Kirby’s last outing was a no-decision against Texas, not giving up two hits and striking out four in five innings.
Astros: Jake Odarizzi (4-3, 4.25 ERA) is slated to start Sunday as he looks to get back on the winning side. Odorica’s last win came on July 10 in Oakland. Odarica’s last out was marked for six runs on seven hits in a loss to the Athletics.
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