HOUSTON (AP) — Sure, it’s early. But Justin Verlander’s work this season in his return from Tommy John surgery is an encouraging sign that the two-time Cy Young Award winner can return to elite form after almost two years away from the game.
Verlander turned in another solid start and Alex Bregman had three hits and three RBIs and the Houston Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners with a 7-2 win Wednesday.
Verlander allowed five hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings for the win. He is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five starts this season in his return after pitching just one game in the previous two seasons.
“It’s just one start at a time,” Verlander said. “This game will bring you down in a hurry so you can’t be complacent. But I would say it’s better to get off to a good start than a bad one, but I’ve just got to keep working.”
Michael Brantley added two RBIs as the Astros continued to roll with their first sweep this season, a day after helping Dusty Baker become the 12th manager in major league history and the first Black man to reach 2,000 wins.
Houston star Jose Altuve fouled a ball off his groin area on an at-bat in the fourth inning and stayed in the game to single, but was replaced at second base to start the fifth. The team said he left the game with right groin soreness.
Baker said Altuve was still being evaluated after the game.
Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run homer with one out in the seventh to snap a scoreless drought of 24 1/3 innings for the Mariners after they were shut out in the first two games of this series. They couldn’t get much else going at the plate Wednesday as they lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“We got beat,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Not a good series for us. No way to sugarcoat it. It’s just where we’re…