SEATTLE – Justin Verlander pitched six strong innings and won his Astros debut after Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer with one out in the seventh for Houston’s first hit Tuesday night in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
With all the attention on Verlander’s first game for a team other than the Detroit Tigers, it was another deadline acquisition that sent Houston to its sixth straight victory. Maybin was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 31 and hit his second home run since joining the Astros to snap a 1-all tie.
Seattle starter Ariel Miranda threw 112 pitches over six hitless innings that included six walks – three of which led to Houston’s first run in the third on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly.
James Pazos (4-5) relieved in the seventh and walked Brian McCann with one out. Pazos was replaced by Emilio Pagan, who left a 3-2 pitch in the middle of the plate and Maybin hit his eighth homer of the season.
Verlander (11-8) allowed six hits and struck out seven. The 2011 AL MVP whiffed Mitch Haniger on his final pitch of the night, a 99 mph fastball.
It was the first time in 381 career regular-season starts that Verlander pitched for someone other than the Tigers. Even if his uniform colors were slightly different, the six-time All-Star’s fastball and ability to dominate a game was the same.
Verlander’s only costly mistake was a 3-2 pitch that Kyle Seager hit for a home run leading off the fourth. Seattle threatened in the sixth when Robinson Cano opened the inning by hitting a liner off Verlander’s lower right arm and wrist area. Nelson Cruz followed with a single, but Seager grounded into a double play and Haniger struck out with Cano on third to end the threat.
Joe Musgrove threw two innings of scoreless relief and Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 29th save.
Carlos Beltran returned to the Astros’ lineup after missing the previous four games with a foot injury. Beltran was 0 for 3 with a run scored. Houston manager A.J. Hinch said the club hopes to have OF Jake Marisnick back in the next few days as well. Marisnick has been slowed by a groin injury.
The Mariners will move right-hander Mike Leake back one game and have him start on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels. That means Andrew Moore will get the start in the series finale against the Astros on Wednesday. Seattle manager Scott Servais said the reason for the change was based on matchups. Leake has faced the Angels only once in his career. He was 6-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 12 career games against the Astros.
Astros: Lance McCullers (7-3) will be activated from the disabled list to make his first start since July 30. McCullers was sidelined for more than a month by back discomfort.
Mariners: Moore (1-3) will slide back into the rotation. He hasn’t started for Seattle since July 26 and his last appearance for the Mariners came on Aug. 11 out of the bullpen.
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