Behind the seemingly endless font of Justin Verlander’s pitching excellence, the Astros eked out yet another low-scoring win, 3-1
The Astros were the first to break through in this pitcher’s duel against Mariner starter Logan Gilbert, scoring two runs in the fourth on RBI doubles by Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel.
The Mariners finally broke through against Verlander in the seventh on a Carlos Santana homer, but Verlander limited the damage by stranding the bases loaded with two strikeouts.
The Astros added another run in the eighth when Jose Altuve scored on a wild pitch by reliever Ryan Borucki. Altuve singled earlier and got to third on a Jeremy Pena single.
In the eighth inning, the replacement for star closer Ryan Pressly, who is on paternity leave, Parker Mushinski, closed down the Mariners on four pitches, including an inning-ending double play.
In the ninth Manager Dusty Baker sent in the well-rested, sometimes brilliant, but sometimes erratic Bryan Abreu to save the game. Today, brilliant Abreu showed up, taking down the heart of the Mariners lineup three up, three down, and striking out Adam Frazier to end the game.
Kudos to the back end of the otherwise exhausted Astros bullpen, and, of course, credit to Justin Verlander, whose seven innings of one-run, nine strikeout pitching gave that tired bullpen a needed rest, not to mention a series win against the Astros’ main AL West contender.
Tomorrow the Astros go for the sweep at 3:10 CT. All Star Framber Valdez goes for the Stros.