SEATTLE (AP) — Justin Verlander took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning and the Houston Astros created some cushion in the American League playoff chase with a 5-1 win over the skidding Seattle Mariners on Monday night.
The 40-year-old Verlander was on the verge of his first complete game since a 2019 no-hitter against Toronto, but was pulled after Josh Rojas' leadoff double in the ninth inning snapped a string of 16 straight batters retired.
Verlander (12-8) struck out eight, walked one and threw 96 pitches as Houston stayed 2 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the AL West and opened a 1 1/2-game lead over the Mariners for the league's final wild card. The Astros were swept in three games at home by lowly Kansas City over the weekend.
Seattle has lost four straight and seven of 10, falling four games behind the Rangers with six to play.
Houston didn’t need much offense, but managed a big two-out rally against starter Luis Castillo (14-8) that produced three runs in the second. The Astros added on with long solo homers from Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. Alvarez’s homer was his 30th of the season. Tucker tops the AL with 110 RBIs.
Seattle had won 10 straight games started by Castillo, but he took his first loss since July 14.
RANGERS 5, ANGELS 1
Texas maintained its 2 1/2-game lead in the AL West over Houston, which won at Seattle to drop the skidding Mariners four games behind the Rangers with six to play.
Marcus Semien also launched a solo homer for Texas, and Jon Gray (9-8) pitched six strong innings for his first win since Aug. 11. After warming up for the seventh, Gray was removed with right wrist tightness.
Texas hit three solo shots in a row off Jimmy Herget (2-4) to build a 3-1 lead. It was the ninth time in franchise history the Rangers hit three consecutive home runs — and the first since 2015.
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Ginkel blew the last of Arizona's three leads in a loss to New York that dropped the Diamondbacks into a tie with the Chicago Cubs for the second of three National League wild cards.
Ginkel (9-1) loaded the bases in the eighth inning. He walked in the tying run by issuing a free pass to Oswald Peraza, and Gleyber Torres scored on a sacrifice fly from Estevan Florial to give the Yankees their first lead.
Everson Pereira added an RBI single for a 6-4 advantage.
Corbin Carroll had three hits and his 51st stolen base for the Diamondbacks.
GIANTS 2, PADRES 1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Logan Webb pitched his second complete game this season and pinch-hitter Michael Conforto delivered a two-run single in the eighth inning to lift San Francisco over San Diego in a matchup of NL West teams clinging to slim playoff hopes.
Blake Snell tossed six shutout innings in his latest terrific start for the Padres, lowering his major league-best ERA to 2.25 as the left-hander makes a final push for the NL Cy Young Award.
Webb (11-13) had seven strikeouts and allowed nine hits on 110 pitches for the Giants (78-79), who moved within 4 1/2 games of the final National League postseason spot. San Diego (77-80) is 5 1/2 back of the Diamondbacks and Cubs, who are tied for the last two of three NL wild cards.
One more loss by the Padres, or one more win for the Diamondbacks and Cubs, would eliminate San Diego.
The Padres got runners to second and third with one out in the ninth, but Webb pitched out of it.
Robert Suarez (4-3) took the loss.
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The Associated Press