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Justin Verlander to make his Astros debut tonight

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SEATTLE — Justin Verlander will make his debut for the Houston Astros in the second game of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

Verlander was dealt to the Astros by the Detroit Tigers on Thursday in exchange for a trio of prospects: right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron and catcher Jake Rogers.

In 28 starts for Detroit this year, the veteran right-hander went 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA, his highest ERA since 2014.

“It’s a new experience for him because he’s doing a lot of firsts all over again,” Astros manage A.J. Hinch said. “He describes it as being a new kid in school again, and that’s exactly how he’s been. He’s been getting to know a lot of guys, there’s been a lot of conversations, sort of a quick acclimation to him. …

“New uniform, new catcher, new environment, new manager, new everything, same Justin Verlander.”

Verlander has been excellent against the Mariners in two starts this season, going 12 2/3 innings and posting a 2.12 ERA, allowing nine hits with three walks and 19 strikeouts. However, he has not recorded a decision against Seattle this season.

For his career, Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.15 ERA in 22 starts against the Mariners.

“Hopefully we can bring a championship to a city that really could use something like that right now,” Verlander said, referring to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. “Hopefully I can be a part of that and we can give this city something to rally around.”

Verlander’s addition adds a somewhat unwelcome storyline in the series for Seattle manager Scott Servais.

“I would have been fine if he stayed in Detroit,” Servais said. “He’s a very good pitcher. He’s very accomplished. We’ve certainly seen him this year at the top of his game.”

Seattle’s Kyle Seager (7-for-19, two homers, eight RBIs) has enjoyed some success against the former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner. Mike Zunino (0-for-6) and Yonder Alonso (0-for-5) are still looking for their first hits against him.

Verlander’s Astros debut comes with the Mariners in the thick of the American League wild-card race. After Houston’s 6-2 victory on Monday, Seattle (69-69) is 2 1/2 games out in the second AL wild-card spot. Meanwhile, Houston (84-53) is comfortably leading the AL West by 13 1/2 games.

Even so, Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel said Monday that the big lead in the division only means the team can see the finish line. With the Astros having started a 10-game road trip on Monday, it is possible Houston could clinch before returning home.

“I know the clubhouse guys want us to celebrate on the road,” he quipped. “They don’t want to clean up the mess at home.”

Lefty Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.85 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday for Seattle.

Miranda has pitched a career-high 150 1/3 innings in 2017, but he has struggled since July 1, going 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA in 10 starts during that span.

He has also struggled against Houston, going 0-2 with a 5.70 ERA in four starts this season. Miranda has a career record of 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA in five starts vs. Houston.

Astros slugger George Springer has feasted upon Miranda this season, going 4-for-13 (.308) with four homers, sporting an eye-popping 1.631 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Miranda has quieted fellow Cuban Yuli Gurriel, who has gone 3-for-13 (.231) against his countryman.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 5, Brewers 3: An absolute dagger of a loss for the Brewers. Chicago took a 2-0 lead early and Milwaukee fought back to take a 3-2 lead in the eighth. In the ninth Ian Happ reached on a grounder on which he should have been out — no error was called, Jeremy Jeffress just couldn’t get to the bag in time — and then Javier Baez tied things up singling Happ in with two outs. In the 10th, Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer on a high fastball that probably didn’t do everything Oliver Drake wanted it to do. Wade Davis got the final five outs of the game, in the ninth and tenth, striking out four Brewers. Chicago is now four and a half games ahead of the Brewers in the Central. Milwaukee will have to win the final three games of this series to have any shot at the division. They do remain only one back in the Wild Card, however, because Colorado keeps losing.

Dodgers 5, Phillies 4: Philly took a 4-2 lead thanks to rookie sensations Nick Williams and Rhys Hoskins, but old men Curtis Granderson and Andre Ethier — still alive! who knew?! — homered in the six than seventh innings, respectively, to tie it up. The Dodgers’ own rookie sensation Cody Bellinger drove in the eventual winning run with a groundout in the seventh. With that win the Dodgers clinch at least a tie for the NL West title. They can pop champagne corks with either a win tonight or a Dbacks loss. Bad news though: Justin Turner got a bruised thumb when he was hit by a pitch from Mark Leiter Jr. in the first. X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day, but that kind of thing can linger.

Indians 4, Angels 1: Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie and the Indians win yet again. That’s 27 of 28 now. They’re only a game behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball which, as we’ve noted recently, matters now that home field in the World Series is determined by non-stupid means.

Orioles 3, Rays 1: Gabriel Ynoa — who, apropos of nothing, has one of the more satisfying last names to both read and pronounce in all of baseball — tossed eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball. Manny Machado hit a two-run homer and Trey Mancini knocked in a run, both coming in the first innings, for all of Baltimore’s scoring. Tampa Bay threatened in the ninth. It wasn’t anywhere near as good a threat as the one Kim Jong Un issued to Trump yesterday — really, all politics aside, that thing reads fantastically — so the O’s were able to extinguish the fire.

Royals 1, Blue Jays 0: Jason Vargas and four relievers allowed two hits and no runs to beat J.A. Happ and three relievers who allowed eight hits and one run. Melky Cabrera‘s third inning RBI single was the game’s only scoring. Can you imagine what any pitcher from before, say, 1980, must think about a 1-0 game featuring a two-hit shutout that required nine pitchers?

Twins 12, Tigers 1: The Twins had been on a mini-skid before last night, but the Tigers pitching staff will always cure what ails ya. Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco had three hits each and four different Twins batters knocked in two runs. The Twins now have a two and a half game lead for the second Wild Card with ten days left in the season.

Cardinals 8, Reds 5: Scott Schebler hit two homers for the Reds but it was not enough to overcome the Cards. Dexter Fowler had three hits and drove in two. He was 7-for-13 with two home runs and six RBI in the three-game series, swept by St. Louis. The Cards, who were swept by the Cubs last weekend, are still alive for the Wild Card, though, sitting a game and a half back of Colorado and a half game back of Milwaukee.

Braves 3, Nationals 2: R.A. Dickey allowed two runs over eight innings to pick up his 10th win on the year. After the game he said, “I’d be lying to say I didn’t have some emotions about it. This could be my last start ever at a home venue.” So there’s a decent chance he retires after the season. Part of me hopes he doesn’t — knuckleballers can and should pitch forever and he does have a team option the Braves are likely to pick up for 2018 — but he’s got kids and stuff and it’d be totally understandable if he decided he was done.

White Sox 3, Astros 1: White Sox starter Carson Fulmer lasted one third of an inning before leaving with a blister so seven relievers covered the rest of the game, allowing only one run to the best offense in baseball. Dallas Keuchel walked in one run and allowed another to score on a double play to earn the loss. Tim Anderson hit an insurance home run in the eighth.

Rangers 4, Mariners 2: Cole Hamels allowed only one run over eight innings pitched and was backed by Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo homers and a Carlos Gomez two-run double. The Mariners have been part of the Wild Card conversation for much of the season but now they’re closer to last place in the AL West (4.5 games) than they are to the second Wild Card (5 games).

Padres 3, Rockies 0: Clayton Richard, fresh off of his two-year contract extension, tamed the Rockies, shutting them out for seven and a third, scattering seven hits. Christian Villanueva homered and drove in two. The Rockies have dropped four straight and have the Brewers and Cards breathing down their necks for the second Wild Card.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.