MLB: Mariners hope to stay in step against Astros

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As a member of the Houston Astros the past three seasons, reliever Ryne Stanek wasn’t exactly a fan of the Seattle Mariners’ postgame celebrations.

The Mariners’ outfielders huddle in shallow center field for a dance, while the infielders join together for a different jig.

But now that he’s part of the Mariners’ bullpen, the ritual has grown on Stanek, who earned a save in Seattle’s 4-2 victory Tuesday night. The four-game series between the American League West rivals continues Wednesday in Seattle, where the Mariners won the opener on Monday, 3-2.

“It’s the oddity of it,” Stanek said. “It was something where I used to think, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous,’ when they would do that. And now, it’s just, ‘Oh, that’s just what we do when we win.'”

It was the career-high third save of the season for Stanek, matching the total he had from 2021-23 with the Astros.

“It was good,” Stanek said. “I feel like it’s always kind of weird facing the team that you’ve just been on. There’s always like a little bit more pressure that probably nobody else puts on you, but you put on yourself because you want to be like, ‘Yeah, like I got it done and against your old team.'”

After scoring a run in the first inning, the Mariners were blanked until the eighth when they scored three times.

Mitch Haniger led off with a double, a passed ball allowed pinch-runner Jonatan Clase to take third, and Ryan Bliss, after fouling off a couple of bunt attempts, drew a walk. An out later, Josh Rojas lined a one-hopper off the glove of diving first baseman Jose Abreu for a double to tie the score at 2-2.

“You can’t panic out there,” Rojas said. “And I think tonight was another case of that. Being down a run for a majority of the game, it felt like, but there was no sense of panic. I think everybody knew, we’ve just got to put together one good inning.”

With runners at second and third, Julio Rodriguez hit a chopper down the third-base line. Alex Bregman, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Astros a 2-1 lead, fielded the ball and looked toward the plate before realizing he had no shot to get the speedy Bliss. Bregman rushed a throw to first that skipped past Abreu to allow both runners to score.

“It was the double by Haniger and the (Bliss) walk. That was a huge at-bat there,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “We needed to put away hitters and we just did not do that in the inning.”

The victory was the third in a row for the division-leading Mariners.

“Mariners baseball, right?” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Really good pitching, some really big at-bats late in the game, awesome bullpen night again and you look up and we pick up a win. Really happy for our guys grinding through that one.

“It’s not always pretty how you do it. But when you put the ball in play, something can happen. We had a little speed out on the bases, which always helps as well, it put a little bit more pressure on the defense and it paid off.”

Wednesday’s pitching matchup features a pair of right-handers in Houston’s Justin Verlander (3-2, 3.60 ERA) and Seattle’s George Kirby (4-5, 4.33).

Verlander is 22-10 with a 3.02 ERA in 38 career starts versus Seattle. Kirby is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four outings against the Astros.

Kirby didn’t get a decision May 3 in a 5-3 loss at Houston in which he allowed just one run on four hits over six innings.

–Field Level Media

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