Yordan Alvarez blasted a game-ending three-run homer off Robbie Ray with two outs in the ninth inning,
, disrupting the Seattle Mariners' strategy of using the Cy Young Award winner in a rare relief role and lifting the Houston Astros to an 8-7 victory on Tuesday's playoff opener.
After Justin Verlander's poor start, the AL West champion Astros edged rookie star Julio Rodriguez and the wild-card Mariners in the bottom of the game.
Houston was trailing 7-5 when rookie David Hensley reached in the ninth when Seattle closer Paul Sewald brushed against his jersey.
Mariners manager Scott Servais then brought Ray, who started Saturday in Toronto in the AL Wild Card Series, into the left-hander vs. lefty with Alvarez. Ray,
who won the Cy Young last year with Toronto, made just six relief appearances in his career and never earned a professional save.
Alvarez, who hit 37 homers in the regular season, sent Ray's second pitch deep into the right-field seats to spark a wild celebration with his parents in the stands.
"Having them there and just because of the city of Houston, they know we're a team that never gives up, so just him being able to hit there.