James Paxton delivered another strong performance, and the Seattle Mariners bashed three home runs on his behalf to extend their lead in the American League West over the host Houston Astros with a 7-1 victory on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
Paxton (5-1) notched his fourth consecutive winning decision despite allowing nine hits over 7 2/3 innings. He limited the Astros to just one run while walking one and recording six strikeouts. He defeated Houston for the second time this season while Seattle extended its winning streak to five games.
The Mariners, in first place this late in the season for the first time since 2003, pushed their division lead to two games over second-place Houston.
Before Paxton took the mound in the bottom of the first inning, the Mariners gifted him a four-run lead. Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (3-8) continued his first-inning struggles, allowing four hits in the opening frame. Keuchel entered Tuesday lugging a 6.75 ERA in the first inning.
To an extent, the damage was a byproduct of poor batted-ball luck. Mariners leadoff hitter Dee Gordon reached on an infield single and took second on a throwing error by Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Jean Segura followed with a soft single to center before Mitch Haniger delivered a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder when Houston failed to turn a double play.
Two batters later, Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager lofted a three-run homer, his 10th long ball of the season, into the first rows of seats over the short porch in left field.
Two batters into the second inning, Keuchel allowed a longer home run, with Mariners catcher Mike Zunino smashing his ninth dinger 429 feet to left. That two-run shot that extended the lead to 6-0.
Keuchel rebounded and retired 10 consecutive batters before Segura belted his fifth home run to left with one out in the fifth.
Keuchel allowed three homers for the second time this season and second time in his career against the Mariners. The lefty gave up seven runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
The Astros have dropped three consecutive games and 7 of 10. Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez went 3-for-4 and finished a home run shy of the cycle.
—Field Level Media