HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning and won is MLB-leading 14th game, Aledmys Díaz hit two homers and Yordan Alvarez slugged his 30th home run of the season as the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 11-1 on Friday night.
Verlander (14-3) allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings and allowed five hits with five strikeouts and outdueled Seattle’s Robbie Ray, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner.
Verlander held Seattle scoreless until Jesse Winker and Julio Rodríguez doubled in the seventh inning.
Verlander allowed just three earned runs in four starts and 26 2/3 innings in July. The 39-year-old right-hander, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery has allowed one earned run or less in six straight starts.
Also Friday, the Mariners made a move to strengthen their pitching, acquiring the top starting pitcher on the trade market, getting All-Star Luis Castillo from the payroll-paring Cincinnati Reds for four minor league prospects.
Cincinnati obtained infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, and right-handers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Marte was the Mariners’ top-rated prospect, Arroyo was third and Stoudt fifth.
Seattle has not been to the playoffs since 2001, the longest postseason drought in the four major North American professional sports.
The Astros chased Ray (8-8) by scoring three runs in the third inning. Ray gave up singles to Yuli Gurriel and Alvarez and a two-run double to Alex Bregman that put Houston up 4-0.
Díaz sent a Ray pitch 401 feet onto the left-field train tracks in the second inning. Díaz added another solo homer in the eighth inning off catcher Luis Torrens.
Ray worked just 2 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs on 84 pitches. He has been hit hard by Houston this season, giving up 14 runs in 10 2/3 innings in three starts.
Bregman added another RBI in the fourth inning on a single off Penn Murfee to left-center that scored Gurriel to put Houston up 5-0.
Alvarez’s homer to deep right-center field came in the sixth inning off an 85 mph fastball from Tommy Millone. Astros center fielder Mauricio Dubón also homered in the sixth, a shot near the left-field foul pole off Millone that put Houston up 9-0.
Houston has won five straight against Seattle and leads the season series 11-6. The Astros are 34-19 against the AL West this season.
Seattle is 17-5 in its last 22 games, with all five losses coming against Houston. The Mariners haven’t lost to a team except the Astros since July 1.
Mariners: After RHP Diego Castillo was placed on the 15-day injured list on Thursday night with right shoulder inflammation, the Mariners recalled RHP Matt Brash from Triple-A Tacoma. On Friday, the team claimed RHP Phillips Valdez off waivers from Boston and optioned him to Tacoma.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. continues to make progress in his rehab from a forearm strain in the offseason. He will make his third rehab start on Tuesday night at Triple-A Sugar Land.
Mariners: Chris Flexen (7-8, 3.75) starts for Seattle on Saturday, hoping to close out an impressive July in which he has a 1.61 ERA in four starts, all of which the Mariners have won.
Astros: Framber Valdez (9-4, 2.74) will start Saturday, six days after he held the Mariners to three runs in 6 2/3 innings in an 8-5 win in Seattle on Sunday.
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