Julio Rodriguez stars again as Mariners blank Astros

Julio Rodriguez homered while recording his third consecutive four-plus-hit game and rookie Bryce Miller pitched 6 1/3 sharp innings as the visiting Seattle Mariners topped the Houston Astros 2-0 on Friday.

After following a 4-for-6 performance on Wednesday with the first five-hit game of his career one game later against the Kansas City Royals, Rodriguez finished 4-for-5 including his 21st home run, a 414-foot blast to left field leading off the third inning.

Rodriguez had a single and stolen base in the first and a single in the fifth before reaching on an error in the seventh. He added an infield single and another steal of second in the ninth.

That tour-de-force effort, combined with the stellar pitching of Miller (8-4) was enough to carry the Mariners to their sixth victory in eight games against the Astros this season. Seattle improved to 4-1 in Houston despite going 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position on the night.

Miller played a vital role in overcoming the lack of timely hits. He faced the minimum through three innings courtesy of a double-play grounder. When Miller faced a two-out pickle in the fourth after Yainer Diaz followed a Yordan Alvarez walk with a double, he rallied by fanning Singleton to end the inning.

Miller retired eight consecutive batters before Diaz reached again in the seventh, this time via a one-out fielding error by shortstop Jose Caballero. Justin Topa took over on the mound and stranded the inherited runner.

Andres Munoz allowed two infield hits in the ninth but got Diaz to ground into a game-ending double play for his seventh save.

Miller, who allowed two hits and one walk while recording two strikeouts, worked into the seventh inning for the first time since going seven frames in a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 18.

Astros rookie right-hander J.P. France (9-4) had his string of seven consecutive winning decisions snapped despite posting his 12th quality start. In six innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.

France surrendered the homer to Rodriguez and another solo home run to Mike Ford with one out in the sixth. Ford golfed the fifth curveball of his eight-pitch at-bat over the wall in right for his 12th long ball.

The Mariners earned their fourth win in a row while the Astros lost for the third time in five games.