HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning and won his MLB-leading 14th game, Aledmys Díaz hit two homers and Yordan Alvarez slugged his 30th home run of the season as the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 11-1 on Friday night.
Verlander (14-3) allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings and allowed five hits with five strikeouts and outdueled Seattle’s Robbie Ray, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner.
Verlander held Seattle scoreless until Jesse Winker and Julio Rodríguez doubled in the seventh inning.
Verlander allowed just three earned runs in four starts and 26 2/3 innings in July. The 39-year-old right-hander, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery has allowed one earned run or less in six straight starts.
Also Friday, the Mariners made a move to strengthen their pitching, acquiring the top starting pitcher on the trade market, getting All-Star Luis Castillo from the payroll-paring Cincinnati Reds for four minor league prospects.
Cincinnati obtained infielders Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, and right-handers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore. Marte was the Mariners’ top-rated prospect, Arroyo was third and Stoudt fifth.
Seattle has not been to the playoffs since 2001, the longest postseason drought in the four major North American professional sports.
The Astros chased Ray (8-8) by scoring three runs in the third inning. Ray gave up singles to Yuli Gurriel and Alvarez and a two-run double to Alex Bregman that put Houston up 4-0.
Díaz sent a Ray pitch 401 feet onto the left-field train tracks in the second inning. Díaz added another solo homer in the eighth inning off catcher Luis Torrens.
Ray worked just 2 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four runs on 84 pitches. He has been hit hard by Houston this season, giving up 14 runs…