Mariners Pregame: James Paxton back on the hill, lineups and starters against Astros

September 15, 2017 GMT

Game 148: Seattle Mariners (74-73) vs. Houston Astros (88-58) at 5:10 p.m. in the first of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The Mariners powered past the Texas Rangers 10-4 on Thursday behind home runs from Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz.

That win kept the M’s 3.5 games behind Minnesota for the second wildcard spot in the American League. The Mariners have won three in a row – as have the Twins – and are 5-5 over the last 10 games.

Houston is 5-5 over its last 10 games and enjoys a 14-game lead over Los Angeles in the A.L. West.

Transactions: The Mariners activated LHP James Paxton from his second stint on the disabled list for the start.

Paxton, 28, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 11 with a strained left pectoral muscle. He left the Aug. 10 game with a strained left pectoral muscle. The left-hander has made 20 starts this season, going 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA (37 ER, 119.2 IP) with 138 strikeouts, including 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA (11 ER, 51.2 IP) with 59 strikeouts over his previous eight starts.

He was named A.L. Pitcher of the Month for July after going 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA (6 ER, 39.1 IP) with 46 strikeouts in six starts, becoming the first Mariners pitcher to win six games in a single month.

Lineups and starters

Starters: LHP James Paxton (12-3, 2.78) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (11-7, 3.86)

Mariners Notes

3B Kyle Seager has hit 25 home runs for the fourth consecutive season. He is one of 10 with at least 25 homers in each of the last four seasons, joining Nelson Cruz. Seager is the fifth Mariner in club history with four or more seasons of 25-plus home runs, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (7), Jay Buhner (7), Edgar Martinez (5), and Alex Rodriguez (4). Seager is only the third Mariner with 25-plus home runs in four consecutive seasons (Griffey Jr., 1996-99, and Martinez, 1995-98).C Mike Zunino ranks among the top A.L. catchers in several offensive categories since the All-Star Break. Zunino is batting .282 (42 for 149) with 21 runs, 11 doubles, 11 home runs, 23 RBI, 21 walks, a .385 on-base percentage, a .577 slugging percentage and a .962 OPS in 48 games since the break.2B Robinson Canó is one home run shy of reaching 300 home runs for his career. When Canó reaches the 300-home run plateau, he will become the 16th player in Major League history to record a career batting average of .300 or better while collecting at least 1,000 runs, 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,000 RBI.

This Day in Mariners History

In 1997, Joey Cora hit his 10th home run, giving the team nine players with 10-plus home runs, tying MLB mark. Ken Griffey Jr. launched his 51st and 52nd home runs, the most since 1961.