Verlander stays hot vs. M’s, 1st in MLB to 13 wins

SEATTLE — Justin Verlander became the major league’s first 13-game winner, striking out nine and topping 99 mph in his final inning to lead the Houston Astros over the Seattle Mariners 3-1 on Saturday.

Verlander (13-3), 39, allowed four hits in seven innings to win his fifth straight start and lower his ERA to 1.86, second in the American League to Shane McClanahan’s 1.71 for Tampa Bay.

Verlander, who missed last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, averaged 96.3 mph with his fastball, 1.4 mph above his season average coming in.

He retired 15 straight between Adam Frazier’s second-inning single and Carlos Santana’s ninth home run, which cut the lead to 2-1 in the seventh. Seattle loaded the bases on walks by Eugenio Suarez and pinch-hitter Kyle Lewis around Frazier’s single, and Verlander struck out No. 9 hitter Sam Haggerty on his 101st and final pitch, clocked at 97.4 mph.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Verlander became the fourth Astros player age 39 or older to throw a shutout, joining Nolan Ryan, who did it at 41; Joe Niekro, who did it twice, at 39 and at 40; and Robin Roberts, who did it at 39.

Verlander has allowed one earned run or fewer in seven of his past eight starts. He also has three consecutive starts with at least eight strikeouts, making him the oldest to do it since a 44-year-old Randy Johnson did it in three straight in 2008, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel hit RBI doubles in the fourth to help the Astros to their fourth consecutive win and send Seattle to its second straight loss after a 14-game winning streak.

Houston is 27-9 since June 12 and ended the Mariners’ streak of eight consecutive winning series.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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