LEADING OFF: Verlander aims for 7th win in row, Acuña ailing

Astros ace Justin Verlander has been as dominant as ever in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA in eight starts

A look at what's happening around the majors on Friday:

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V FOR VICTORY

Astros ace Justin Verlander has been as dominant as ever in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA in eight starts.

Verlander has a 19-inning scoreless streak and hasn't allowed a run in his last three outings.

The 39-year-old righty didn't pitch last season while recovering from his elbow operation. The eight-time All-Star is already 2-0 this year against the Mariners — he'll face them again in Seattle as he tries to win his seventh straight decision overall.

Chris Flexen (1-6, 4.98) pitches the series opener for the Mariners. After throwing well but getting little run support to begin the season, he has struggled in giving up 14 earned runs in his past three starts.

HEALING UP

The Braves will see how right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. is feeling after he was scratched from two starts because of tightness in his right quadriceps tightness.

Acuña is batting .292 with two homers, eight stolen bases and a .400 on-base average. The 24-year-old was sidelined for the second half of last season after tearing his knee.

The two-time All-Star and 2018 NL Rookie of the Year recently missed five games recently with right groin tightness.

Atlanta hosts the Marlins to begin the weekend.

RED ALERT

Kyle Farmer, Nick Senzel and the Cincinnati Reds look to keep their bats booming when they face the Giants at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds put up their highest run total since 1999 when they whacked the Cubs 20-5 on Thursday. Farmer homered and drove in five runs — he and Senzel each had four hits.

San Francisco starts a 10-game trip when lefty Carlos Rodón (4-3, 3.43 ERA) faces the Reds.

CARPE DIEM

A week after he was cut loose from his minor league team, three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter wound up back in the majors — and made an instant impact for the New York Yankees.

Ailing in a couple of spots, the team with the top record in baseball signed the 36-year-old Carpenter on Thursday. Hours later, he scored two runs as the Yankees won 7-2 at Tampa Bay.

The infielder recently was released by the Rangers' Triple-A team. Carpenter hit .169 in 130 games for St. Louis last year; the previous season, he batted only .186 for the Cardinals.

Carpenter entered the lineup for a series opener at Tampa Bay as the designated hitter when center fielder Aaron Hicks was scratched with a tight hamstring. Aaron Judge was moved from DH to center. Infielder DJ LeMahieu is slowed by a sore left wrist and Josh Donaldson is on the COVID-19 injured list. Donaldson also is appealing a one-game suspension imposed by MLB for making an inappropriate comment to White Sox star Tim Anderson.

Carpenter drew a walk and was hit by a pitch in going 0 for 2.

“It happened fast and now I’m here and I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Carpenter said.

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Combined ShapeCaption
New York Yankees' Matt Carpenter, right, scores in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino on an RBI single by Aaron Judge during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 26, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Credit: Chris O'Meara

New York Yankees' Matt Carpenter, right, scores in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino on an RBI single by Aaron Judge during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 26, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Credit: Chris O'Meara

Combined ShapeCaption
New York Yankees' Matt Carpenter, right, scores in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Mike Zunino on an RBI single by Aaron Judge during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 26, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Credit: Chris O'Meara

Credit: Chris O'Meara