The Astros led 3-0 after one inning as Paxton (12-4) struggled in his return from the disabled list after sitting out since Aug. 10 with a strained pectoral muscle. He allowed four hits and three runs while walking two in 11/3 innings to snap a seven-game winning streak.

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HOUSTON — The Houston Astros are on the verge of closing out the AL West after defeating the Mariners’ James Paxton in his return from the disabled list.

Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis had two hits apiece to help Houston beat Paxton and the Mariners 5-2 on Friday night, dropping its magic number to two. The Astros could secure their first division title since 2001 with a win Saturday if the Angels also lose Saturday.

“We’re excited. We can’t wait for that,” Correa said. “We’re chasing that first and then we want obviously to have the best record in the American League. So hopefully we can clinch soon and then go after the other one.”

Indians lose

Cleveland had its AL record winning streak stopped at 22 games on Friday as the Kansas City Royals won 4-3. It was the Indians’ first loss since Aug. 23.

— Story, C5

The Astros led 3-0 after one inning, jumping all over Paxton (12-4) in his return from the disabled list after sitting out since Aug. 10 with a strained pectoral muscle.

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Paxton got four outs and was charged with three runs and four hits in 11/3 innings, snapping a seven-game winning streak. It tied the shortest start of his career and was his first loss since June 27.

“I was out of whack on the mound,” said Paxton, who was on a 50-pitch limit. “I was just watching some video, and my front side was going early, so I had nothing to throw against. I felt like I went to throw the ball, and there was nothing there.”

Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (12-7) struck out seven while pitching six innings of one-run ball.

Jean Segura had two hits and two runs batted for the Mariners, who remain 3½ games behind in the hunt for the second AL wild card.

Paxton had trouble locating his pitches from the start, walking leadoff hitter George Springer and throwing two wild pitches in the first inning.

Segura hit a leadoff double before Morton retired the next 10 batters. Robinson Cano singled with one out in the fourth and Nelson Cruz walked, but Morton sat down the next two Mariners to end the threat.

“We just didn’t get much going,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “We didn’t get that big hit with guys on.”

AL wild-card race
Team W-L GB
Yankees 81-66 +4
Twins 77-70
Angels 75-72 2
Mariners 74-74 3.5
Royals 73-74 4
Rangers 72-74 4.5