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Another Paxton gem lifts Seattle to 6-0 win over Houston in Home Opener

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton throws against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 10, 2017, in Seattle. The game is the home opener for the Mariners. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) - James Paxton shut down Houston for the second time in a week, pitching seven innings of four-hit ball and leading the Seattle Mariners to a 6-0 win over the Astros in their home opener Monday.

The Mariners rebounded nicely from Sunday's ugly ninth-inning meltdown against the Angels when they gave up seven runs and lost 10-9. Paxton (1-0) was a big reason why, keeping Houston's offense silent long enough for Seattle's bats to wake up and finally convert with runners in scoring position. Paxton struck out eight and walked two while pitching in Seattle's home opener for the second time in his career.

Nelson Cruz finally broke through with a two-run single in the fifth inning to give Seattle the lead and Mitch Haniger followed an inning later with a two-out RBI single. Seattle was 8 for 57 through the first seven games and 1 of 8 on Monday with runners in scoring position before Cruz lined Charlie Morton's pitch into center field.

In 13 innings against the Astros this season, Paxton has not allowed a run and scattered six hits. Carlos Correa had Houston's first three hits on Monday - two of which didn't leave the infield - and Carlos Beltran added a single in the seventh inning to put two runners on with no outs. Paxton got Evan Gattis to foul out, struck out Marwin Gonzalez and got defensive help from Leonys Martin running down Josh Reddick's drive to cap the outing.

Morton (0-1) allowed three runs and seven hits and struck out six. He escaped jams in the third and fourth innings before Cruz came through for Seattle in the fifth.

Not all went well on opening day for Seattle. Shortstop Jean Segura left the game after the bottom of the third inning after straining his right hamstring diving back to first base trying to avoid the tag after Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel caught a line drive. Segura was replaced by Taylor Motter.

WAKING UP

A couple of Seattle's stars that struggled through the first week on the road enjoyed being home. Cruz had three hits, raising his average from .080 to .172. Kyle Seager had two hits and a sacrifice fly to score Seattle's third run. Seager's second hit was a line drive double off the wall in the seventh.

MISSING PERSONS

For a moment the Astros were without Jose Altuve. During the lengthy pregame ceremony as part of the Mariners' home opener, both rosters were introduced. When the Astros lineup was announced, Altuve was nowhere to be found. His absence was brief. While the Mariners were being announced, Altuve quietly walked out to his spot on the third base line.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Tony Zych (biceps) will continue his rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma with no set date on when he'll rejoin the Mariners. They would like to add his power arm to the bullpen, but he's struggled in his first two outings in the minors giving up three runs on five hits in two brief appearances.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (0-0) makes his second start against Seattle. Musgrove gave up two runs in five innings last week vs. the Mariners.

Mariners: LHP Ariel Miranda (0-0) makes his second start of the season. Miranda gave up two runs over five innings in his first start vs. Houston.

(Editor's note: Mariners fans, KOMO News would love to see your photos from the home opener. Please send them here.)

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