When the Houston Astros were forced to put five players on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday, manager Dusty Baker adhered to the next-man-up philosophy.
"We have to go forward with whoever's here," Baker said at the time. "You pick up the flag and you keep on persevering. ... Out of adversity comesopportunity. It's a time for some guys to shine."
Enter rookies Taylor Jones and Alex De Goti.
As the designated hitter, Jones, a native of the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash., singled in the lone run Saturday as the Astros snapped a six-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory against the host Mariners. The teams will wrap up a three-game series Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Park.
In Friday's 6-5 loss to the Mariners, Jones and De Goti, who has playing second base, combined for four runs and three of the Astros' seven hits.
"The rookies, they all had good games," Baker said.
Jones said he grew up as a Mariners fan and attended numerous games.
"Coming to the ballpark (as a kid) was obviously the best, being in the stadium with my dad and brother and occasionally my mom, watching big leaguers go about their business and ... just being in awe," Jones said. "I always wondered what it would be like to play here, so it's a surreal experience."
Jones, who played in seven games last season, said he had about 15 friends and family members in attendance, which is remarkably the same total as De Goti, although his fans traveled all the way from Miami for his major-league debut.
De Goti admitted he shed some tears before his first game Friday.
"It's definitely something very emotional for me and especially for my family and I, to be able to just come out here and play this game that I've dreamed to play my whole life," De Goti said. "Just blessed to be able to go out there and share the field with some of these superstars on our team and just try to help them win."
Jones and De Goti will get more chances, as Baker said Saturday he doesn't think second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and utility infielder Robel Garcia -- the players facing health and safety protocols -- will be back until after the Astros return home Thursday.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will try to help the Astros win the series Sunday when he's expected to face Mariners lefty Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04). Odorizzi is 1-3 with a 4.24 ERA in eight career starts against Seattle; Margevicius is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in three appearances, including two starts, versus Houston.
The Mariners had a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday as longtime nemesis Zack Greinke allowed only four hits in eight scoreless innings. That dropped Seattle percentage points behind the idle Los Angeles Angels atop the American League West.
The Mariners' Nos. 1-3 hitters -- Mitch Haniger, Ty France and Kyle Seager -- went a combined 1-for-12 against Greinke.
"Really, we've been swinging the bat awesome. We really have, driven by the guys at the top of the order," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Greinke shut down those guys."
--Field Level Media