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Mariners ambush Verlander, Astros to win series opener 6-1

The Mariners hit two two-run homers in the first inning and opened the series with a W.

Houston Astros v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

On Friday night, the Mariners had Justin Verlander’s number. In a 6-1 victory, Seattle didn’t wait too long to greet the Astros ace with a four-run first inning, capped by two two-run home runs from rookie Julio Rodríguez and Kyle Lewis.

After going 0-5 with a 6.16 ERA in his first six career starts against Houston, Chris Flexen was in control to out-pitch Verlander and guide the Mariners. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched seven strong innings of one-run ball, two walks, and six strikeouts.

In regard of Verlander, the living legend couldn’t finish May in fashion as he surrendered 10 hits and six earned runs. JV allowed four homers to tie his career-high mark. Besides, this is the first time since April 15, 2017, that Verlander allows at least 10 hits and six earned runs.

Before this outing, Verlander had a 5-0 record with an 0.83 ERA over his last 38 2/3 innings (five starts).

Houston’s hitters weren’t much of a threat for the Mariners’ pitching. Jeremy Peña, Yuli Gurriel, and Yordan Álvarez were the only ones to collect multiple hits. Also, Peña was the only Astro to record an extra-base hit (double) and, in general, the team left nine runners on base. As if it wasn’t enough, the Astros were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position on Friday.

On a positive note, reliever Seth Martínez kept his brilliant start to the 2022 season. He followed Verlander with two no-hit, scoreless innings of one walk. Martínez is yet to allow a run after nine innings of four hits and six strikeouts.

But since baseball is good, it gives you a second chance. José Urquidy will take the ball on Saturday to face righty Logan Gilbert in the second game of the series at Minute Maid Park.