Toro HR hours after trading sides, but Astros beat Mariners
SEATTLE (AP) — Abraham Toro homered for Seattle against the team that traded him across the diamond during batting practice, but the Houston Astros held off a ninth-inning rally to beat the Mariners 8-6 on Tuesday night.
The playoff-contending Mariners made two trades during the day. They sent relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to AL West-leading Houston for Toro and reliever Joe Smith, and later got starter Tyler Anderson from Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers.
Toro was taking his pregame swings for Houston when he learned about the deal. The infielder walked to the other dugout, put on his new uniform and went back to the batting cage.
Toro had a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the ninth that bounced off right fielder Kyle Tucker’s glove and into the stands. The shot came off Astros closer Ryan Pressly a day after Toro homered against the Mariners. His seventh homer — he has hit one in three straight games — drew the Mariners within two runs and they put two on with one out before Pressly escaped.
Toro is the first player in major league history to homer for one team and against that team in consecutive games, ESPN said, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
“When I hit it I knew I hit it good, but I thought it was a little too high honestly,” Toro said. “After (Tucker) jumped, I was pretty excited, obviously.”
Seattle had won four in a row, including an 11-8 victory over the Astros on Monday night when it rallied from a 7-0 deficit.
Smith threw one hitless inning for the Mariners. Graveman and Montero didn’t pitch.
“It was strange,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said of watching his former players. “You find yourself not really pulling against them because you’re used to pulling for them.”
Aledmys Diaz said it was weird facing off against Smith in the seventh. Smith came with his game face and got him with a slider at one point.
“I love that guy. ... I said, ‘Good pitch there,’ and he started smiling,” Diaz said.
Yordan Alvarez hit a three-run homer, his 19th, for Houston in the first inning. He had three hits and scored twice.
Miles Straw added a two-run double in a four-run fourth that featured four consecutive hits against Chris Flexen (9-5), including three doubles.
Lance McCullers Jr. (8-2) gave up four runs in six innings, striking out eight. He allowed more than three runs for just the second time this season in 17 starts.
Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer in the first for Seattle. Jarred Kelenic had a two-run single in the sixth that got the Mariners within 8-4. But Baker trusted his pitcher to get out of the inning, and he did with two straight strikeouts.
“I’m really happy Dusty gave me the chance to finish and I told him that,” McCullers said. “He gave me a chance to clean up my own mess.”
Jose Altuve had three hits for the Astros and Diaz and Martin Maldonado each drove in a run. Those two runs proved to be the difference.
“I think we’ve got the attention of the Houston Astros, that’s for sure,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
Mariners lefty Hector Santiago returned from his 10-game suspension as the first player penalized under Major League Baseball’s foreign substance crackdown. He gave up one earned run on four hits over two innings.
Seattle optioned RHP Darren McCaughan to Triple-A Tacoma and designated RHP Vinny Nittoli for assignment.
Astros: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.23) looks to stop a two-game slide in the series finale.
Mariners: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (6-5, 3.95) has won three of his last four starts.
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