HOUSTON -- James Paxton continued his mastery of the Astros, allowing six hits and one run with seven strikeouts in seven innings, as the Mariners took a series at Minute Maid Park with a 4-1 victory Wednesday afternoon.
Ben Gamel's two-run homer in the fourth inning put the Mariners ahead, 2-1, and was all the offense needed for Paxton (9-3), who improved to 2-0 in three starts this year against Houston, allowing one run in 20 innings. The Mariners finished a 5-1 road trip heading into a four-game series against the Yankees beginning Thursday in Seattle.
Astros starter Charlie Morton (7-4) worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. Robinson Cano's bases-loaded fielder's choice in the sixth made it 3-1, and Mike Zuninoended Morton's day with an RBI double in the seventh to push the lead to 4-1.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ben's big blast: Morton retired the first nine batters he faced before Jean Segura led off the fourth with a single, setting the stage for Gamel to blast a two-run homer to right field to give Seattle the lead. The ball traveled 361 feet, according to Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 104 mph.
Laser throw by Heredia: Just when the Astros had something brewing in the eighth after a leadoff single by George Springer, Mariners left fielder Guillermo Heredia saved the day. Heredia fielded a hard-hit single off the wall by Jose Altuve and threw out Springer at third base for the first out. After Yuli Gurriel reached on a Segura error, Nick Vincent struck out Evan Gattis and Marc Rzepczynski fanned Carlos Beltran to strand runners at first and third.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (5-3, 4.20 ERA) takes on the Yankees on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. PT as Seattle opens a 10-game homestand at Safeco Field. The veteran right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in five starts since coming off a two-month stint on the disabled list.
Astros: The Astros are off Thursday, and then Mike Fiers (6-4, 3.75 ERA) will take the mound Friday in Baltimore to open a three-game series against the Orioles at 6:05 p.m. CT at Camden Yards. He's 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA in his last nine starts.