Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Seattle Mariners

All goes to plan as Abraham Toro pinch hits for Julio Rodriguez and Mariners rally past Astros in ninth

July 30, 2022 Updated Sat., July 30, 2022 at 9:02 p.m.

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

HOUSTON – Win of the year?

Hell, any time the Mariners win a game in Houston, it’s a candidate for that category because it doesn’t happen often.

At this point in the 2022 season, it’s difficult to think of a better one.

But this victory, Seattle’s 55th of the season, was different in so many ways to be memorable.

If the Mariners make the postseason, which becomes a greater possibility with each passing game, their 5-4 victory on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, a place they rarely win, will long be remembered as a magical moment in the journey.

With two outs and runners on second and third and the Mariners trailing by one run, Mariners manager Scott Servais called on Abraham Toro to pinch hit for Julio Rodriguez to avoid a sixth straight loss to the Houston Astros.

Wait, Abraham Toro for Julio Rodriguez?

What kind of strategy is that?

Unfortunately, Servais had no choice but to make the move after Rodriguez was struck by a 97-mph fastball in the back of his right hand on a swing in his previous at-bat in the eighth inning.

Although Rodriguez remained in the game initially, playing center field in the bottom of the eighth inning, he wasn’t comfortable swinging the bat in the ninth and neither was Servais with having him do it. So Toro, the last player on the bench, got the call to pinch hit.

Traded from Houston to the Mariners a year ago this week in a deal that was filled with fan and player acrimony and struggling to find any sort of traction at the plate this season as demands for his demotion permeate social media, Toro kept it simple against Houston closer Ryan Pressly – swing early and swing at a strike up in the zone.

He jumped on the first pitch from Pressly, pulling a line drive into left field for the game-winning single that scored both runs.

“I know he likes to throw breaking ball a lot, but I was just trying to look something up and I wasn’t really guessing,” Toro said. “He’s somebody that’s generally aggressive and I know he likes to attack the zone. I was ready to swing from the get -go.”

With Rodriguez out of the game, he underwent X-rays postgame but the results weren’t known, Dylan Moore having already exited the game earlier due to back spasms and Sam Haggerty bleeding from gash in his forehead after spiking his helmet in frustration only to have it hit him in the face, Servais had no bench players from the top of the ninth. He pieced together defense with Ty France at second base, Toro in right field and Adam Frazier in center. Paul Sewald closed out the ninth with two fly balls and a ground out to France.

Jarred Kelenic was scratched from AAA Tacoma’s lineup right before the first pitch Saturday and may return to the Mariners to help with the mounting injuries.

The Mariners snapped a five-game losing streak against the Astros and can salvage a split of the four-game series with a win on Sunday in the final meeting of the two teams in the regular season.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.