At 41 years old, Justin Verlander continues to prove that he can still dazzle on the mound. He did that again Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners on the road, but even a brilliant performance from the future Hall of Famer was not enough to prevent Houston from suffering yet another loss at the hands of their American League West division rivals.

Justin Verlander's brilliant start unable to carry the Astros past the Mariners

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks off the field after pitching during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Minute Maid Park.
© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Verlander pitched for seven innings against the Mariners, allowing just an earned run on three hits with only a walk issued while also striking out nine Seattle hitters in a 2-1 loss in extra innings. Houston simply was not able to provide enough run support behind the three-time Cy Young winner.

Or from a different perspective, the Mariners also just has been pitching so well in the series. Verlander even acknowledged the fact following the Astros' latest loss.

“They have an outstanding rotation, good bullpen. You know these are going to be close games. If you think you're going to come in here and bang out five, six, seven runs a game, I don’t think that’s realistic,” Verlander said after the game, per Daniel Kramer of

Strong pitching for Seattle continues to be the trend in the series versus Verlander and the Astros. Through three games in the current series, the Mariners have held Houston to only a total of five runs.

In Wednesday's contest, Verlander went toe to toe with Mariners starter George Kirby, who tossed six innings of one-run ball with six hits surrendered and zero walks issued. Kirby also fanned eight Astros batters along the way.

“I think this series has gone relatively the way people expect. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't come through with the one big pitch or one big out, one big hit. In these tight ballgames, the margin for error is so small. Just hasn't gone our way,” Verlander also said (via Chandler Rome of The Athletic).

Those who watched the game from a neutral standpoint got to enjoy an entertaining pitching duel between Verlander and Kirby. At the end of the day, Houston's pitching, particularly its bullpen, blinked first with Tayler Scott allowing Jonatan Clase to score the game-winning run in the 10th frame on a sacrifice fly by JP Crawford.

“That's as good as it gets in this league, any league, Verlander and George going back and forth,” Seattle manager Scott Servais shared after the game, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “It was fun to watch when George was out there; it wasn't so fun to watch when Verlander was out there. It was one of those games going into it you have to figure out a way to grind through it.”

Despite the Astros' loss, Verlander managed to further lower his ERA in the 2024 MLB regular season down to 3.26. Verlander was at 4.43 ERA after he got punished on the mound by the New York Yankees in a 10-3 loss on May 7. Over his last two starts, Verlander has racked up 18 strikeouts and surrendered only two earned runs on 11 hits through 13.0 innings.

The Astros will look to avoid getting swept by Seattle in the series finale this Thursday afternoon. Houston has righty Spencer Arrighetti scheduled to start in the next game opposite Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert.