The end of the streak only cast a brighter light on its remarkable nature, with Astros closer Ryan Pressly finally seeing his franchise-record-tying run of consecutive batters retired come to an end on Thursday.

Pressly surrendered a two-out, opposite-field single to Seattle shortstop J.P. Crawford in the ninth inning of the Astros’ 4-2 victory over the Mariners in the opener of a four-game series. The teams meet again on Friday in Houston.

Pressly retired 32 consecutive batters before Crawford reached, so he has to settle for a share of the franchise mark set by right-hander Justin Verlander from Sept. 1-7, 2019.

The 33-year-old right-hander needed 20 pitches to record his 21st save, putting into question his availability for Friday.

During his run of excellence, Pressly recorded two wins and six saves, a dominant stretch that started with him working the ninth inning of a combined no-hitter against the New York Yankees on June 25. Pressly has been the rock for a bullpen that owns the lowest ERA in the majors, 2.73.

“Everything’s got to come to an end at some point, right?” Pressly said. “I’m not really trying to think about any of that. I just wanna string zeros together and help this team win. So it was fun while it lasted. Obviously, I had a good time doing it, but I guess it’s time to start a new one.”

Added Astros manager Dusty Baker: “Boy, that’s quite a streak right there. That means you’re throwing strikes, that means you’re throwing quality strikes and you’re getting some help from your friends on defense.”

Verlander (13-3, 1.86 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Astros on Friday. He has won five consecutive starts, producing a 0.79 ERA and .489 opponents’ OPS while recording 36 strikeouts over 34 innings. Verlander has allowed one earned run or none in each of those five outings.

Verlander is 20-10 with a 3.15 ERA over 36 career starts against the Mariners, including 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in five starts this season. He limited the Mariners to one run on four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-1 road victory on Saturday.

Left-hander Robbie Ray (8-7, 3.90 ERA) has the starting assignment for the Mariners on Friday. He was 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA over eight starts prior to facing Houston at home last Sunday, producing 61 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings while surrendering an opponents’ OPS of .585. That followed a stretch of three losses in his three previous appearances.

Ray is 3-2 with a 6.39 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 38 innings over eight career starts against the Astros. He took the loss against Houston on Sunday, allowing six runs on 10 hits over three innings. He is 1-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two starts against the Astros this season.

The Mariners saw their three-game overall winning streak end on Thursday, and they dropped their fourth consecutive meeting with Houston.

Seattle will be without reliever Diego Castillo for the remainder of the series after he landed on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. The move was retroactive to July 26.

“He didn’t want to go to the IL and we didn’t want to place him on it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He didn’t think he’d be able to post (Thursday), so that’s when we had to make the move.”

–Field Level Media