HOUSTON (AP) Rookie Shawn O’Malley was born and grew up in Washington in a family full of Seattle Mariners fans.
On Wednesday night he starred in his debut with the team, finishing with three hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in a two-run eighth inning, and Logan Morrison padded the lead with a three-run shot in the ninth to help the Mariners to an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
It was the first game in the majors this season for O’Malley, who appeared in 11 games for the Los Angeles Angels last season, but spent all year in Triple-A before being called up Tuesday. He had a run-scoring single in the second.
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”My grandpa and father were huge Mariners fans,” he said. ”The fact that they got to see me starting a game in a Mariners uniform would be surreal to them. I’m glad I could make it somewhat special.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon raved about the contributions of O’Malley and fellow youngsters Ketel Marte and Stefan Romero.
”They gave us good at-bats and they really energized us tonight,” he said.
The Mariners had runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth inning after Pat Neshek (3-5) made the first error of his nine-year career. The miscue came when he fielded a sacrifice bunt by Jesus Sucre but his throw sailed over the head of 5-foot-5 Jose Altuve, who was covering first base.
”Sometimes you just make a bad play,” he said. ”It was the worst play I have ever made in my life. It happens. It got away from me. That changes the game a lot.”
O’Malley’s line drive to right field scored Morrison to put Seattle on top 4-3.
Morrison, who hit a game-winning, two-run homer as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday, connected off Josh Fields to make it 8-3 in the ninth.
Seattle starter Taijuan Walker allowed five hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings. Carson Smith (2-5) got the last out of the seventh inning for the win and Tom Wilhelmsen got the final five outs for his eighth save.
Franklin Gutierrez had two hits and an RBI for the Mariners, who took two of three from the AL West-leading Astros. It was Houston’s first series loss at home since May 29-31 against the Chicago White Sox and the first time they have lost two in a row in Houston since June 26-27.
Scott Kazmir yielded seven hits and three runs – two earned – in 4 1-3 innings, which was his shortest start since a trade to Houston on June 23.
The Mariners had a shot to take the lead in the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out. But they came away empty when Colby Rasmus caught a long fly ball to right field by Mark Trumbo and his throw beat Nelson Cruz home to finish the double play. Cruz didn’t return after that play because of a strained right quadriceps. He said he will get treatment Thursday and be re-evaluated on Friday.
Seager doubled to start the fifth and an RBI single by Robinson Cano with one out chased Kazmir and tied it 3-3.
The Mariners tied it at 2-all in the third on a ground-rule RBI double by Gutierrez, which bounced on the hill in center field and over the wall.
A two-out RBI single by Evan Gattis put Houston on top 3-2 in the bottom of the inning.
Preston Tucker, who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno earlier Wednesday, hit an RBI single tie it 1-1 in the second. The Astros took a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Luis Valbuena later in the inning.
Astros: An MRI on the right shoulder of RHP Scott Feldman revealed no damage and he received a cortisone injection to calm the inflammation in his shoulder. Feldman left Tuesday’s start after 2 2-3 innings with discomfort in his throwing shoulder. The Astros hope he will be OK after sitting out one start. … OF George Springer (broken right wrist) will play his fourth rehabilitation game at Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday and could be activated soon after.
Mariners: Seattle is off Thursday and opens a three-game series at Oakland on Friday when LHP Edgar Olmos (1-0, 2.13) opposes A’s RHP Aaron Brooks (1-1, 5.47). It will be the second career start for Olmos, who has appeared in five games with one start for the Mariners this season.
Astros: Houston has a day off Thursday before RHP Collin McHugh (14-7, 3.92) opposes Minnesota RHP Mike Pelfrey (6-8, 3.85) on Friday in the opener of a three-game series. McHugh is second on the team behind ace Dallas Keuchel with a career-high 14 wins.