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Framber Valdez, Astros complete sweep of Mariners

Sportsnaut
Jul 24, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena cracked back-to-back homers to start the game and Framber Valdez pitched shutout ball into the seventh Sunday as the Houston Astros stopped the Seattle Mariners 8-5 in Seattle to polish off a three-game sweep.

Martin Maldonado added three RBIs for Houston, which got another solid outing from Valdez (9-4). He scattered eight hits over 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and a walk while fanning eight in his seventh straight quality start.

Robbie Ray (8-7) lasted just three innings for Seattle, allowing 10 hits and six runs with no walks and a strikeout.

Abraham Toro belted a two-run homer in the eighth that pulled the Mariners within three runs, but Ryan Pressly locked it down in the ninth for his 20th save. The 1-2-3 inning gave him 30 straight hitters retired, a franchise record.

Altuve wasted no time putting Houston ahead for good. He ambushed Ray’s first pitch, launching it 409 feet into the second deck in left for his 19th homer of the year and his ninth leadoff homer of 2022.

Pena made it 2-0 six pitches later when he jumped on a hanging slider for his 14th homer, the ball landing just below Altuve’s blast to left.

Things didn’t get much better for Ray, who entered the day with wins in his last four decisions and a streak of eight starts in which he allowed three or fewer earned runs.

The Astros touched Ray for five straight hits to open the second. Mauricio Dubon collected an RBI with a ground-rule double, followed by RBI singles by Maldonado and Altuve for a 5-0 lead. At that point, Houston was 8 for 10 off Ray.

Chas McCormick’s fielder’s choice grounder made it 6-0 in the third. Valdez kept it there until the seventh, when Seattle reached him for a two-out, two-run triple by Sam Haggerty and an RBI double from J.P. Crawford.

But Maldonado supplied insurance in the eighth with a two-out, two-run single that fell between three fielders.

–Field Level Media