Verlander fans 12 as Astros top Mariners

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander struck out a season-high 12 in seven sparkling innings, Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run homer and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Tuesday night.

There was no trouble between the teams one night after beanballs led to a bench-clearing scuffle. Houston bench coach Joe Espada filled in for manager Dusty Baker, who served a one-game suspension after he and reliever Héctor Neris were ejected from Monday’s game.

Baker was also fined an undisclosed amount.

Verlander (7-2) yielded one run on six hits and improved to 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in four starts against the Mariners this season.

The right-hander now has 3,086 career strikeouts, moving past Max Scherzer (3,079) and John Smoltz (3,084) for 17th place. The win was the 233rd of Verlander’s career, tying Charlie Buffinton for 62nd all-time.

Rafael Montero walked the bases loaded with one out in the eighth but induced an inning-ending double play from Abraham Toro.

Ryan Pressly pitched the ninth for his 11th save.

Alvarez hit his 17th home run in the eighth, just getting it over the right field fence and the outstretched glove of Taylor Trammell to extend Houston’s lead to three.

After Toro gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI groundout, the Astros responded with RBI singles from Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña in the bottom half.

Chris Flexen (2-7) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Flexen, who dropped to 1-3 against Houston this season, has permitted three runs or fewer in each of his four starts versus the Astros.

Trainer’s room

Mariners: 1B Evan White (sports hernia) was pulled off his rehabilitation assignment after reaggravating his groin or hip issue that was causing the discomfort, manager Scott Servais said. … OF Kyle Lewis (concussion) has begun doing cardiovascular activities, but has not started doing baseball activities yet, Servais said.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right forearm strain) threw a 25-pitch bullpen. … RHP Jake Odorizzi (lower left leg) threw a bullpen as well and is expected to do some field work on Wednesday, Baker said. … LHP Blake Taylor has left elbow inflammation, general manager James Click said. Baker would not give a timetable for when Taylor could return, but said it would be “a while.”

Neris suspended

Astros pitcher Héctor Neris was suspended four games and Houston manager Dusty Baker was banned one game by Major League Baseball after both were ejected from a game Monday night against Seattle in which Neris plunked one hitter and nearly hit another in the head.

Neris and Baker were also fined undisclosed amounts, MLB Senior Vice President for On-field Operations Michael Hill announced Tuesday. Astros coaches Joe Espada, Omar López and Troy Snitker were also fined, as was Mariners manager Scott Servais.

Neris is appealing his suspension.

Article Source: The Columbian