HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez smashed a game-ending, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Robbie Ray, wrecking Seattle’s strategy of using a Cy Young Award winner in a rare relief role and vaulting the Houston Astros over the Mariners 8-7 in their playoff opener.
Trailing all game after a poor start by Justin Verlander, the AL West champion Astros overtook rookie star Julio Rodríguez and the wild-card Mariners at the end to begin their best-of-five Division Series.
The Astros came back
Houston was down 7-5 when rookie pinch-hitter David Hensley was hit by a pitch from Seattle closer Paul Sewald and Jeremy Peña singled with two outs. Mariners manager Scott Servais then made the bold move to bring in Ray.
Alvarez homered on Ray’s second pitch.