Down to their last out before losing their first game of the year Wednesday night, Nori Aoki slapped a single to short left against Seattle's Chase De Jong which moved up Evan Gattis then George Springer spanked a 3-2 pitch into the Crawfords for a stunning 5-3 walk-off Houston triumph to run their undefeated streak to three and move three up on both the Rangers and Mariners in the early - very early - AL West race.
Springer: Keeps Astros in first
(c) Associated Press
Is this the Astros' year? It's way, way, way too early to know but the good vibes are already starting to gather.
Springer's two-run double off Dan Altavilla in the seventh tied the contest after a two-run homer in the fifth against Charlie Morton by Seattle shortstop Jean Segura gave the M's the first lead of the game. With Morton and Mariner southpaw James Paxton both off the hook, it came down to a battle of the bullpens.
In his Astros debut, Morton tossed six innings and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks. Six relievers followed him but it was Chris Devenski who did the bulk of the relief, tossing four shutout innings.
Jandel Gustave entered for the Astros in the 13th and walked the bases loaded with nobody out. Brad Peacock entered the jam and walked Kyle Seager to bring home the tie-breaking run. However, he then coaxed a short fly from Danny Valencia and struck out the next two batters, leaving Seattle with just the one-run advantage.
That set the stage for Chase De Jong who must have felt good about his chances once he retired Josh Reddick on a pop up for the second out. That's when Aoki, claimed last fall by the Astros off waivers from the Mariners, came up with the big hit and Springer followed with his bigger hit that shocked what was left of the 20,303 in attandance.
Houston will now try for a four game sweep Thursday night with righthander Joe Musgrove (4-4 in 2016) taking the hill against Seattle lefty Ariel Miranda (5-2 in 2016) in the 7:10 Central finale. The Astros have now scored seven of their ten runs to start the season via the long ball.
- Bob Hulsey