July 31, 2018 / 4:55 AM / in 6 months

Back from DL, Paxton pitches Mariners past Astros

James Paxton outdueled Gerrit Cole as the Seattle Mariners defeated the visiting Houston Astros 2-0 Monday night in the opener of a three-game series between the American League West’s top two teams.

Nelson Cruz hit a two-run double for Seattle, sending the defending World Series champion Astros to their season-worst fifth consecutive defeat. The Mariners, with their second win in a row, pulled within three games of the division-leading Astros.

Paxton (9-4), who was activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day after being out since July 7 due to lower back stiffness, allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings. The left-hander didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.

Alex Colome pitched the eighth and Edwin Diaz worked a 1-2-3- ninth for his major-league-leading 40th save of the season.

Cole (10-3) didn’t allow a hit until running into trouble in the sixth inning.

After Cole struck out the first two batters, Jean Segura grounded a ball up the middle. Astros infielder Yuli Gurriel, playing second base with reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve (knee) on the disabled list for the first time in his career, made a diving stop behind the bag, but his throw to get the speedy Segura was a fraction late.

Denard Span then lined a single to center field, sending Segura to second. Cruz lined the next pitch down the left field line, past a diving third baseman Alex Bregman, to score both Segura and Span and give the Mariners a 2-0 lead.

Cole went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He walked two and fanned eight.

With two on in the top of the first, Houston’s Evan Gattis hit a long drive down the left field line that landed in the second deck. After a video review, umpires called it a foul ball.

The Astros put two runners on against Colome in the eighth, as Max Stassi singled with one out and George Springer walked with two outs. However, Colome struck out Bregman on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Each team finished with four hits.

—Field Level Media

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