James Paxton, Mariners Blank Astros 2-0

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SEATTLE, WA - JULY 30: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers against the Houston Astros in the second inning at Safeco Field on July 30, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 30: James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers against the Houston Astros in the second inning at Safeco Field on July 30, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
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If you like pitching duels, then this was the game for you.

The Mariners (63-43) come away with a 2-0 win over the Astros (67-41) and move to just 3 games behind Houston in the American League West. James Paxton (9-4, 3.49 ERA) shut down the Astros with seven strong innings. He only allowed three hits, struck out eight, and didn’t walk a batter. The Mariners are now 3-4 against Houston this season with all three wins coming in games Paxton’s started.

Gerrit Cole (10-3, 2.55 ERA) was perfect through the first 4 innings, and had a no-hitter going through 5. But with 2 outs in the 6th, Nelson Cruz lined a double down the third base line scoring Jean Segura and Denard Span.

Those were the only runs needed to win the ballgame… almost. Early on in the 1st, Evan Gattis hit an absolute moonshot into the 3rd deck in left field, but it hooked just foul. It was close enough for Astros manager A.J. Hinch to challenge the call. It stood.

Paxton was on a pitch count tonight, between 80-90. He only needed 82 to get through 7 innings. Paxton was placed on the disabled list back on July 12th with lower back inflammation. He was on the D.L. for 17 days, but really only missed one start thanks to the All-Star break. Paxton is now 3-0 this season against Houston.

In the 8th, the Mariners brought in Alex Colome. Josh Reddick pinch hit and worked an 11-pitch AB that ended in a flyout. Max Stassi followed up with a single, then Colome walked George Springer. This brought up All-Star Game MVP Alex Bregman, who worked another long at-bat but struckout on a nasty cutter by Colome.

Edwin Diaz then came in the game in the 9th inning and shut down the Astros 1-2-3, earning his 40th save on the season. With save number 40, Diaz ties JJ Putz (2007) for the third most saves in franchise history. The record is 48, by Fernando Rodney back in 2014. With it only being July 30th, Diaz should coast to breaking the record.

The big win tonight isn’t the only major news for the Mariners. Earlier in the day, the M’s acquired two new bullpen arms: Zach Duke from the Minnesota Twins and Adam Warren from the New York Yankees.

The Mariners will face off with the Astros again tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM (PST). Pitching for the Mariners will be Mike Leake (8-6, 4.15 ERA) against Houston’s Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.89 ERA). As always, Go Mariners!

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