HOUSTON (AP)Cristian Javier combined with two relievers on a two-hitter, and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0 on Tuesday night to get above .500 as they bounced back from a long skid.
Javier (3-0) allowed two hits in a career-high seven innings – both by Kyle Seager – struck out six and walked three.
”He showed me he’s in shape,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. ”Even though his velocity went down there in the one inning, and then, he reached back and went back up to 93 (mph). He had a good breaking ball, a good fastball. … He gave us what we wanted. He gave us seven innings.”
Javier extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings over three starts and lowered his season ERA to 0.87.
”I’m really just going out there to have fun,” he said through a translator. ”That’s the first thing I am focused on is to have fun and do my job, letting things fall how they may.”
Houston catcher Martin Maldonado said Javier was able to mix his pitches well.
”He looked really good,” Maldonado said. ”His fastball command wasn’t there like it normally is. I think we mixed different pitches where we got them guessing second or third time through the lineup.”
Brooks Raley and Ryan Pressly each pitched a perfect inning, with Pressly getting his third save.
Seattle did not move a runner past second.
Houston has won five of six to reach 12-11, a spurt that followed nine losses in 10 games.
”We’ll take these victories,” Baker said. ”Back over .500, it’s been a good homestand. We want to close out strong before we go on the road.”
Seattle has lost three in a row.
Yordan Alvarez had a sacrifice fly and Kyle Tucker an RBI single in a two-run fourth off Marco Gonzales (1-3), who allowed five hits in six innings with four strikeouts. Gonzales has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three starts.
”His fastball command leads the way with everything,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ”I thought his curveball was good and his changeup was coming into play. He’s doing a good job of reading batters and knowing whether to speed them up or slow them down.”
Mariners: INF Shed Long Jr. (right shin stress fracture) was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day IL. … Seattle claimed INF Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Angels and optioned him to its alternate training site.
Astros: RHP Pedro Baez (right shoulder soreness) was transferred to the 60-day IL on Monday. ”He had a setback where he had some tenderness in his shoulder, and … he’s been on not quite 30 days and doesn’t look like he would be back prior to the 60 (days), and we needed the spot,” Baker said. … LHP Framber Valdez (left index finger fracture) is ahead of schedule on his rehab, according to pitching coach Brent Strom, but Strom would not give a timetable for when Valdez might return.
Javier pitched with a coffee stain on his uniform after a pregame spill. Javier said he drinks coffee before every game, and as he was walking out to the field, he had the cup of coffee in his glove and it spilled. Despite the urging of his teammates to change uniforms, he refused.
”He didn’t want to change,” Maldonado said. ”I will make sure next time his coffee spills again. He pitches like that, might as well.”
Houston RHP Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.76 ERA) will start against Seattle RHP Justin Dunn (1-0, 3.68) in the third game of the four-game series on Wednesday night.
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