SEATTLE — J.P. Crawford’s two-out, three-run double pulled Seattle even, Jose Caballero followed two batters later with a two-run double, and the Mariners scored seven times in the eighth inning for a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
Stymied for the first seven innings by Houston starter J.P. France and two relievers, the Mariners erupted against Astros relievers Rafael Montero and Ryne Stanek, with all the damage coming with two outs.
Seattle’s rally started when Eugenio Suárez walked on a 3-2 pitch with two outs. Cal Raleigh reached on a check-swing dribbler that barely got past the mound and Teoscar Hernández’s grounder deep in the hole at shortstop loaded the bases.
Crawford got the count in his favor and lined a 3-1 fastball to the wall in right-center field clearing the bases. Stanek replaced Montero (0-1) and walked pinch-hitter Taylor Trammell before Caballero lined a shot into the left-center field gap. Caballero had replaced Kolten Wong earlier in the game after he appeared to get injured making a diving stop in the field.
Julio Rodríguez and Jarred Kelenic also added RBI singles. All told, the Mariners sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning and had seven hits with two outs.
Taylor Saucedo (1-0) pitched the eighth inning for the Mariners and got the unexpected victory. Houston’s Jake Meyers had a two-run double off Paul Sewald in the ninth but Mauricio Dubón struck out to end it.
The late rally ruined what appeared to be a storybook debut for France. The 28-year-old made his major league debut by throwing five shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales threw six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and struck out four. Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Peña had two-out RBI hits and Kyle Tucker added a sacrifice fly.
FRANCE V. FRANCE
With Seattle batter Ty France and Houston pitcher J.P. France facing off, it was the first time since 1997 a batter and pitcher matched up and both shared the same last name as a country. Per the Mariners, the last time this happened was Sept. 10, 1997 when Ricardo Jordan pitched to Kevin Jordan in a game between the Mets and Phillies.
Ty France had two hits off J.P. France.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve hit on the field during batting practice for the first time since breaking his right thumb during the World Baseball Classic. … RHP Ronel Blanco was optioned to Triple A Sugar Land to clear a roster spot for France. The Astros intend to have Blanco stretched out and work as a starter in the minors.
Mariners: Wong appeared to be shaken up on a diving stop in the top of the fifth, and struck out in the bottom of the inning. … Seattle placed right-handed reliever Penn Murfee on the 15-day injured list with a sore right elbow with the hope a few days of rest is all that’s needed. RHP Juan Then was recalled from Double-A Arkansas and pitched a perfect seventh inning in his major league debut.
Astros: RHP Brandon Bielak (0-0, 4.50) will make his first start of the season after coming on in relief last Monday after Luis Garcia was injured. It will be his ninth career start and first since Sept. 24, 2021.
Mariners: RHP Bryce Miller (0-0, 1.50) makes his second start after throwing six innings allowing one run and striking out 10 against Oakland in his debut.