NEW YORK — In the latest edition of “good pitching defeats good hitting,” future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, already turning back the years during his 2022 season, shut down the best offense in baseball to put an end to an impressive month-long streak in the Bronx.
Verlander allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings while Kyle Tucker’s three-run home run in the sixth inning was all the offense the Houston Astros needed in a 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday. One night after blowing a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to lose in heartbreaking fashion, the Astros bullpen held firm as Phil Maton and Rafael Montero each pitched a scoreless inning to put an end to the Yankees’ 15-game home winning streak.
“Last night was a tough loss,” said Verlander, who recorded his American League-leading ninth victory. “Obviously, after a tough loss, you want to be able to bounce back and be the stopper and help the team get a win. I was happy to be able to do that tonight.”
Coming off a rare off outing where he allowed seven runs — four earned — on nine hits in last Saturday’s home defeat to the Chicago White Sox, Verlander once again found the form that has him a frontrunner for this year’s Cy Young. He navigated through a 25-pitch second inning, one where he allowed a ground-rule double to John Donaldson and a hit by pitch to Isiah Kiner-Falefa before getting out of the inning unscathed, striking out Kyle Higashioka to end the threat.
The Astros’ offense did not have that much success against Yankees starter Luis Severino, and it squandered a golden chance to break a scoreless tie in the fourth inning after Yuli Gurriel doubled and Aledmys Diaz singled to start the inning to put runners at the corners. Severino came back to strike out the side, including fanning Jose Altuve on a check swing to end the inning.
Severino was not as fortunate in the sixth, allowing a double to Alex Bregman and walking Yordan Alvarez after retiring the first batter in the inning. Tucker then parked the first pitch he saw deep into the right field bleachers for his 14th home run of the season to break the scoreless deadlock.
Verlander gave up a one-out opposite field home run to Giancarlo Stanton — New York’s Major League-leading 118th homer — in the bottom of the sixth, the only run Verlander allowed and the only one the Yankees would score in the game. Tonight marked the ninth start this season in which Verlander allowed one earned run for fewer, and the sixth start this season of at least seven innings pitched with one or fewer earned runs allowed.