Justin Verlander was splendid against the Detroit Tigers, pitching a two-hitter and fanning 11 in another dominant performance for the Astros in Houston.
Houston’s offense wasn’t nearly as sharp on Wednesday night, and it led to a tough-luck 2-1 loss.
“Just an incredible performance,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “Just not one that we could help him with. We wasted a really good start.”
John Hicks and Ronny Rodriguez homered off Verlander — the only two baserunners he allowed.
“The two times I gave in and gave them a fastball, they hit a homer on it,” said Verlander, who has been critical of Major League Baseball for what he believes are intentional changes to the ball that have led to more home runs. “Baseball in 2019. I didn’t go out of the stretch at all the entire game, and we lost. I don’t know what else to say.”
With Verlander on the mound at home against the worst team in the majors, the Astros were more than a 5-1 favorite, one of the biggest favorites in an MLB game that Las Vegas oddsmakers could remember.
Hicks led off the ninth with a tie-breaking blast to left-center off Verlander (15-5), first in the majors in strikeouts (239) and second in homers allowed (33).
Rays 7, Mariners 6: Kevin Kiermaier drove in four runs, including a solo homer during a two-run ninth inning, and host Tampa Bay avoided a three-game sweep by beating Seattle.
Rockies 7, Diamondbacks 2: In Phoenix, Colorado journeyman Tim Melville pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in his first big-league game in almost two years for his first career victory.
White Sox 4, Twins 0: Lucas Giolito pitched a three-hit shutout against the second-highest scoring team in the major leagues, racking up 12 strikeouts for visiting Chicago.
Reds 4, Padres 2: Luis Castillo shook off his worst career start to pitch six solid innings, and Jose Iglesias hit a solo home run to pace host Cincinnati.
Orioles 8, Royals 1: Host Baltimore tied a major-league record by allowing its 258th home run this season but hit four against Kansas City. The 2016 Cincinnati Reds owned the record for home runs allowed in a season; Baltimore has 35 games left.
Rangers 8, Angels 7: Hunter Pence drove in three runs, including an RBI single in the ninth to lift host Texas to the victory.
Nationals 11, Pirates 1: Patrick Corbin pitched eight scoreless innings, and Asdrubal Cabrera’s three-run home run capped a six-run third inning for visiting Washington.
Mets 4, Indians 3: J.D. Davis lined an RBI single with two outs that capped a two-run rally in the 10th inning for host New York. The Mets had been helped moments earlier by a huge Cleveland mental lapse when All-Star reliever Brad Hand failed to cover first base on a potential game-ending double-play grounder.
Phillies 5, Red Sox 2: Bryce Harper homered to give visiting Philadelphia a fifth-inning lead, and Corey Dickerson drove in two runs with a triple and a single.
Braves 5, Marlins 0: Adeiny Hechavarria and Ronald Acuna Jr. each hit a two-run homer, Julio Teheran struck out a season-high nine and host Atlanta improved to 14-4 against Miami this year.
Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: Mike Moustakas homered and Keston Hiura had two RBIs to lead visiting Milwaukee in a game stopped after 7 ½ innings and called after a rain delay of 66 minutes.
Briefly: Angels rookie pitcher Griffin Canning will return to the injured list with a recurrence of the elbow inflammation that sidelined him this month. … The Pirates placed right-hander Chris Archer on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, one day after he was removed after the first inning against the Nationals. … Cubs closer Brandon Morrow is out for the year after another setback in his recovery from right elbow surgery.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Astros-Justin-Verlander-allows-just-two-hits-14369517.php.