Astros start fast, batter Ray for 3-game sweep of Mariners

Sports

SEATTLE (AP) — Jose Altuve and Jeremy Peña hit back-to-back home runs off Robbie Ray to begin the game, and the Houston Astros roughed up the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner in an 8-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners that completed a three-game sweep Sunday.

Martín Maldonado had three RBIs from the No. 9 spot in the lineup and All-Star lefty Framber Valdez (9-4) took a shutout into the seventh inning for the Astros, who won their fifth straight and increased their AL West lead to 13 games over second-place Seattle.

The Mariners had won 14 in a row before Houston arrived, but were stopped cold by the defending AL champions coming out of the All-Star break.

Ray (8-7) was tagged for six runs and 10 hits in three innings. Altuve sent the first pitch of the game into the left-field bleachers, Peña followed with his 14th homer and the Astros were off and running.

Houston scored three more times on five consecutive hits to start the second, making it 5-0. In the third, Yuli Gurriel scored on a fielder’s choice.

Meanwhile, the Mariners couldn’t get much going against Valdez until the seventh, when Sam Haggerty hit a two-run triple with two outs. J.P. Crawford drove in Haggerty with a double, and Valdez was replaced by Seth Martinez. He struck out Ty France to end the inning.

Maldonado blooped a bases-loaded single into left field to score Alex Bregman and Aledmys Diaz in the eighth.

Abraham Toro hit a two-run homer for Seattle in the bottom half.

Houston closer Ryan Pressly returned from the paternity list and threw a perfect ninth inning for his 20th save. Pressley has retired 30 consecutive batters dating to June 25, setting a club record.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: All-Star DH Yordan Alvarez is nursing a sore right hand and was out of the starting lineup.

Mariners: Rookie OF Julio Rodríguez is still day to day with left wrist soreness. Rodriguez had an MRI on Saturday that revealed no damage other than bruising. … OF Jesse Winker left in the fifth with a right ankle sprain, which came after he collided with Peña near first base in the second inning.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-2, 3.56 ERA) will pitch at Oakland. Odorizzi’s past two starts also came against the Athletics.

Mariners: RHP Chris Flexen (6-8, 3.79) goes Monday against Texas. Flexen has allowed no more than one earned run in each of his last three starts.

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