HOUSTON -- Down to their final strike in a game in which they struggled with runners in scoring position, the Astros got a dramatic three-run, walk-off homer with two out in the 13th inning from George Springer for a 5-3 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night at Minute Maid
HOUSTON -- Down to their final strike in a game in which they struggled with runners in scoring position, the Astros got a dramatic three-run, walk-off homer with two out in the 13th inning from George Springer for a 5-3 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Springer followed a one-out walk to Evan Gattis and a two-out single by Norichika Aoki by lifting a 3-2 pitch from reliever Chase De Jong and hitting a towering fly ball -- 124 feet in the air, according to Statcast™ -- that just snuck into the first row of the Crawford Boxes in left-center.
The blast gave the Astros a 3-0 start for the first time since 2001.
The homer, which was 100.6 mph off the bat and at a launch angle of 36 degrees, had only a 40 percent probability of being a hit, according to Statcast™. Springer, who had a two-run double with the bases loaded in the seventh, drove in all five Houston runs.
"I knew I had hit it OK," Springer said of the homer. "I'm glad it just went over the line. [I'll] take it."
De Jong was making his Major League debut while filling in for teammate Dillon Overton, who is on the paternity list and will return on Thursday.
"I thought Chase handled the situation about as well as he could," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. " It doesn't get any tougher, making your Major League debut in that spot. It was just one of those crazy games that ended up crazier than I could have imagined. We had a lot of chances tonight to score more than we did, we just didn't get it done."
The homer came after the Mariners took the lead in the top of the inning on the strength of four consecutive walks to start the frame, including three by Jandel Gustave. Brad Peacock walked in the go-ahead run, but he recorded three outs for the win.
"That was such a bizarre game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "There was hardly any baserunners at the beginning and then a ton of baserunners at the end on both sides. It felt like we had a chance to win that game three or four different times if an at-bat swings our way, and maybe we're celebrating a little bit earlier. Pretty dramatic win after a hard-fought day."
The Mariners' Jean Segura broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer to right field in the fifth inning off Charlie Morton to back six scoreless innings from starting pitcher James Paxton, who held the Astros to two hits and walked one batter while striking out five.
But the Mariners have scored just four runs while starting a season with three straight losses for the first time since 2004.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Finding the right spot: The Mariners ripped a couple of doubles off the wall early -- a Mike Zunino shot to left-center projected at 371 feet by Statcast™ and a 412-foot blast by Nelson Cruz to center -- but neither wound up scoring. Segura's two-run homer was perfectly placed -- a 352-foot line drive to the short right-field seats for Seattle's first homer and lead of the season. Segura's combination of exit velocity and launch angle on his home run (93.9 mph, 28 degrees) has been a home run only seven percent of the time during the Statcast™ era (since 2015) and his exit velo was the second-softest of the 21 homers he's hit since the start of last season while with the D-backs.
Can't touch this: Right-hander Chris Devenski, the Astros' Pitcher of the Year in 2016, was dazzling in his '17 debut, striking out seven in four innings of hitless relief, including six on his changeup, which is one of the best in baseball. Since 1990, Devenski joins Melido Perez and Randy Johnson as the only relievers to have two outings of at least four innings and seven strikeouts in their careers (Devenski struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings on Aug. 1, 2016). More >
LAST MAN STANDING
One by one, his seven other bullpen mates were called into the game, so when things reached the 13th, De Jong knew he was going to make his debut on what would be his final day with the Mariners before being sent back to Triple-A. De Jong, who pitched in Double-A for the Dodgers last year, got two outs and had two on when Springer lifted the game-winning homer. The fly ball wasn't crushed and neither was De Jong despite the difficult circumstances.
"Yeah, but I just pitched in the big leagues and that's still pretty cool," he said.
"We want to win the first one and get that out of the way. It's a shame. But tomorrow is another day. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. Nobody else is going to feel sorry for us either. We just need to step up tomorrow." -- Cruz
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Altuve went 0-for-6 for only the second time in his career (Sept. 18, 2014 vs. Cleveland).
The Mariners were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and are 1-for-27 in their first three games.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch unsuccessfully challenged a pickoff play at first base in the seventh. Hinch thought Yulieski Gurriel's swipe tag on Leonys Martin led to an out, but the safe call was confirmed.
Seattle unsuccessfully challenged an out call at first base on a ground out by Cruz leading off the 10th when Gurriel had to come off the bag to pull in a wide throw from third baseman Bregman. Cruz thought he avoided the tag, but the call was ruled to stand.
Mariners: Lefty Ariel Miranda, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the rotation spot created when Drew Smyly went on the 60-day DL with an elbow strain, will get the ball at 4:10 p.m. PT on Thursday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.. Miranda went 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) last year, including a win over the Astros when he allowed three hits and two runs in seven innings in September.
Astros: Right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his first start of the season as in the series finale against the Mariners on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Musgrove made his big league debut last year and wound up appearing in 11 games (10 starts), going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA. He pitched the final two months of the season in the rotation after Lance McCullers went down with an elbow sprain.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
@GregJohnsMLB]() and listen to his podcast.