Yordan Alvarez stuns Mariners with walk-off homer in Astros’ ALDS win

Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez (44) celebrates after hitting a three-run, walkoff home run.
Houston Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez gets an ice shower courtesy of his teammates after hitting a walk-off home run against the Seattle Mariners in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Yordan Alvarez smashed a game-ending, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Robbie Ray, wrecking Seattle’s strategy of using a Cy Young award winner in a rare relief role and vaulting the Houston Astros over the Mariners, 8-7 on Tuesday in their playoff opener.

Trailing all game after a poor start by Justin Verlander, the American League West champion Astros overtook rookie star Julio Rodriguez and the wild-card Mariners at the end to begin their best-of-five division series.

Houston trailed 7-5 when rookie pinch-hitter David Hensley reached with one out in the ninth as Seattle closer Paul Sewald grazed his jersey with a pitch.

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Sewald struck out Jose Altuve before Jeremy Pena laced a single to center to chase the right-hander.

Mariners manager Scott Servais then made the bold move to bring in Ray, a left-hander who started Saturday at Toronto in the AL wild-card series, to face the left-handed-hitting Alvarez. Ray, who won the Cy Young last year with Toronto, had made only six relief appearances in his career and never earned a save.

Alvarez, who hit 37 homers this season, sent Ray’s second pitch deep into the seats in right field to set off a wild celebration with his parents in the stands.

The Mariners jumped on Verlander for six runs in four innings to build a 6-2 lead. Yuli Gurriel hit a solo homer in the Houston fourth before Eugenio Suarez’s solo shot in the seventh extended Seattle’s lead to 7-3.

A two-run homer by Alex Bregman off Andres Munoz cut the lead to 7-5 in the eighth inning to set up the dramatic finish.


Philadelphia Phillies 7, Atlanta Braves 6

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos makes a diving catch against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

ATLANTA — Nick Castellanos drove in three runs and made a potentially game-saving catch in the ninth inning, lifting Philadelphia over reigning World Series champion Atlanta in the opener of their NL Division Series.


Game 2 is Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta before the series shifts to Philly.

The Phillies have won three straight games to begin these playoffs, following up their wild-card sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a victory over the team that finished 14 games ahead of them in the NL East.

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Matt Olson hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Zach Eflin to bring the Braves within a run. Castellanos capped off a brilliant day with his bat and his glove, making a sliding catch in right field for help snuff out the comeback.

Alec Bohm added two RBIs for the Phillies, who built a 7-1 lead by the top of the fifth. Travis d’Arnaud homered and drove in the other three Atlanta runs.

Max Fried failed to get through the fourth inning and was roughed up for eight hits and six runs — two of them unearned. Seranthony Dominguez struck out three in two innings of relief for the win.