Verlander throws 5-hit shutout, Astros blank Angels 2-0

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Justin Verlander is not prone to sentimentality.

More excited about getting out of a jam than getting his 2,500th strikeout, Verlander put both his flair for the moment and his enduring greatness on full display Wednesday night in a classic masterpiece on the mound.

The right-hander threw a five-hitter for his first shutout in three years and Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-0.

''Pretty much a clinic on how to pitch,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''I mean, it's just an epic performance by a really good pitcher. It's fun to win a series, especially against a team like this. Even more sweet when one of your best carries you on his back.''

Verlander (5-2) was superb in ending his two-game skid, finishing with seven strikeouts to reach 2,500 for his career. He walked one and lowered his ERA from 1.21 to 1.05.

It was the fourth time this season he's gone at least six innings without giving up a run.

With his supermodel wife, Kate Upton, applauding in the crowd, Verlander threw 118 pitches in his 24th career complete game and first since 2016 with Detroit. Two runners were on when he retired Zack Cozart on an infield popup to polish off his eighth major league shutout and first since 2015 with the Tigers.

Gattis' fourth home run came off hard-luck loser Garrett Richards (4-2) in the second inning after a two-out throwing error by Cozart at third base. Gattis has three home runs in his last five games.

That was enough for Verlander, who did not allow a runner past first base for the first seven innings. Andrelton Simmons singled in the second and Albert Pujols singled in the fourth.

The Angels finally put pressure on the Astros' ace in the eighth. Ian Kinsler got a one-out single and Kole Calhoun hit a ground-rule double, putting two runners in scoring position. But then Verlander threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Luis Valbuena and got Mike Trout to ground out softly on a check-swing.

After escaping the jam unscathed, Verlander pumped both arms and then his right fist.

''Here's the game right here. Can you get out the best player in the world? Yeah, I was pretty excited about it,'' Verlander said.

Trout went 0 for 4. Shohei Ohtani was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, going down swinging on three pitches to start the ninth for Verlander's 2,500th strikeout. But it wasn't time to reflect, not for the intensely focused Verlander with Pujols coming up to bat.

''I don't know if 2,500 punches is the one to do that,'' Verlander said. ''I know I'm creeping up on 200 wins, so maybe that's an opportunity to really kind of sit down and think about the gravity of some things, but it's something I'm working on.''

Pujols singled with two outs and Verlander walked Andrelton Simmons before retiring Cozart.

''Verlander, when he smells the end of a game, that's when he really turns it up,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

TOUGH LOSS

Richards was nearly as effective, allowing four hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck out four, and both runs off him were unearned.

It was the second skip of a grounder to Cozart taking a ''terrible hop,'' as Scioscia said, that saddled Richards with the loss. Cozart had to react quickly and backhand it, which resulted in an off-balance throw into the dirt.

''It (stinks) to lose a game on a play like that,'' Cozart said. ''When Gattis hits the home run, that makes it a huge play right away, and we know the guy on the mound is going to be tough to battle against. You can't give good teams extra outs.''

RESPECT

Ohtani did not reach base for the second time in 19 starts as the designated hitter, in part because Verlander was understandably cautious about challenging the Japanese two-way star.

''I threw him a 3-2 slider the first time I faced him,'' Verlander said. ''I don't think I do that to a lot of guys that I've never faced before, but I've seen him take some pretty impressive swings on fastballs on predictable counts.''

ROSTER MOVES

Astros: OF Tony Kemp was recalled from Triple-A Fresno after OF Jake Marisnick was sent down following Tuesday night's game. Kemp went 1 for 3 while playing left field and batting ninth.

Angels: RHP Eduardo Paredes was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake, giving the Angels another option in their struggling and overworked bullpen. RHP Jamie Barria, who is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts, was sent down in a corresponding move.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (5-0, 2.03 ERA) starts against Cleveland on Friday. Morton has allowed one run or fewer in five of his eight starts.

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (3-2, 3.07) will pitch the opener of a four-game series against Tampa Bay on Thursday. Skaggs has not won at home this season, going 0-2 with a 5.31 ERA in four starts.

---

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
HOU28-17
020000000250
LAA25-18
000000000051
  • W: J. Verlander (5-2)L: G. Richards (4-2)
  • HR: HOU - E. Gattis (4)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
G. Springer CF40100010.287.351.483.8330.5
A. Bregman 3B40100002.259.378.401.7792.0
J. Altuve 2B40100001.309.364.414.7782.0
C. Correa SS30000101.281.372.497.8681.0
B. McCann C40000011.261.367.391.758-0.5
Y. Gurriel 1B40000021.263.297.373.670-1.0
J. Reddick RF31000011.228.336.409.7450.5
E. Gattis DH31121020.212.276.372.6486.0
T. Kemp LF30100000.333.333.333.6671.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    M. Trout CF40000002.298.440.6161.0560.0
    S. Ohtani DH40000030.325.366.597.963-1.5
    J. Upton LF40000000.257.314.485.8000.0
    A. Pujols 1B40200010.256.289.421.7101.5
    A. Simmons SS30100101.342.408.493.9022.0
    Z. Cozart 3B40000003.229.292.418.7100.0
    I. Kinsler 2B30100001.212.293.305.5981.0
    K. Calhoun RF30100010.165.193.209.4021.5
    M. Maldonado C20000010.261.346.359.705-0.5
    a- L. Valbuena PH10000012.246.286.364.650-0.5
    R. Rivera C00000000.259.322.481.8040.0
    • a-struck out for Maldonado in the 8th
    BATTING
    • 2B - A. Bregman (14), J. Altuve (11)
    • HR - E. Gattis (4)
    • RBI - E. Gattis 2 (14)
    • 2-Out RBI - E. Gattis 2 (7)
    BATTING
    • 2B - K. Calhoun
    FIELDING
    • DP - (Cozart-Kinsler-Pujols)
    • E - Z. Cozart (3)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Verlander (W, 5-2)9.05001701.050.7134.5
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Verlander (W, 5-2)9.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    G. Richards (L, 4-2)7.04201413.471.2216.0
    N. Ramirez1.01000103.801.442.5
    B. Parker1.00000203.101.284.0
    PITCHERSIP
    G. Richards (L, 4-2)7.0
    N. Ramirez1.0
    B. Parker1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 118-79
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 6-14
    • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 33
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - G. Richards 91-57, N. Ramirez 17-11, B. Parker 15-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - G. Richards 6-11, N. Ramirez 2-0
    • Batters Faced - G. Richards 26, N. Ramirez 4, B. Parker 3
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    HOU28-17
    020000000250
    LAA25-18
    000000000051
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    G. Springer CF40100010.287.351.483.8330.5
    A. Bregman 3B40100002.259.378.401.7792.0
    J. Altuve 2B40100001.309.364.414.7782.0
    C. Correa SS30000101.281.372.497.8681.0
    B. McCann C40000011.261.367.391.758-0.5
    Y. Gurriel 1B40000021.263.297.373.670-1.0
    J. Reddick RF31000011.228.336.409.7450.5
    E. Gattis DH31121020.212.276.372.6486.0
    T. Kemp LF30100000.333.333.333.6671.0
    Total322521177-----
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      M. Trout CF40000002.298.440.6161.0560.0
      S. Ohtani DH40000030.325.366.597.963-1.5
      J. Upton LF40000000.257.314.485.8000.0
      A. Pujols 1B40200010.256.289.421.7101.5
      A. Simmons SS30100101.342.408.493.9022.0
      Z. Cozart 3B40000003.229.292.418.7100.0
      I. Kinsler 2B30100001.212.293.305.5981.0
      K. Calhoun RF30100010.165.193.209.4021.5
      M. Maldonado C20000010.261.346.359.705-0.5
      a- L. Valbuena PH10000012.246.286.364.650-0.5
      R. Rivera C00000000.259.322.481.8040.0
      Total320500179-----
      • a-struck out for Maldonado in the 8th
      BATTING
      • 2B - A. Bregman (14), J. Altuve (11)
      • HR - E. Gattis (4)
      • RBI - E. Gattis 2 (14)
      • 2-Out RBI - E. Gattis 2 (7)
      BATTING
      • 2B - K. Calhoun
      FIELDING
      • DP - (Cozart-Kinsler-Pujols)
      • E - Z. Cozart (3)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Verlander (W, 5-2)9.05001701.050.7134.5
      Total9.0500170---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Verlander (W, 5-2)9.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      G. Richards (L, 4-2)7.04201413.471.2216.0
      N. Ramirez1.01000103.801.442.5
      B. Parker1.00000203.101.284.0
      Total9.0520171---
      PITCHERSIP
      G. Richards (L, 4-2)7.0
      N. Ramirez1.0
      B. Parker1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 118-79
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 6-14
      • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 33
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - G. Richards 91-57, N. Ramirez 17-11, B. Parker 15-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - G. Richards 6-11, N. Ramirez 2-0
      • Batters Faced - G. Richards 26, N. Ramirez 4, B. Parker 3
      • 2ND INNING
        Gattis homered to left, Reddick scored20
      • 9TH INNING
        • Rene Rivera catching
        • Blake Parker relieved Noe Ramirez
        • C. Correa: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Correa lined out to center
        • B. McCann: Ball, Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Strike looking, McCann struck out looking
        • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Gurriel struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • S. Ohtani: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Foul tip, Ohtani struck out on foul tip
        • J. Upton: Upton fouled out to first
        • A. Pujols: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Pujols singled to deep right center
        • A. Simmons: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Simmons walked, Pujols to second
        • Z. Cozart: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Cozart popped out to first
        • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Noe Ramirez relieved Garrett Richards
        • T. Kemp: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Kemp grounded out to second
        • G. Springer: Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike (foul tip), Strike swinging, Springer struck out swinging
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Bregman doubled to left center
        • J. Altuve: Ball, Altuve grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • Z. Cozart: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Cozart flied out to deep right
        • I. Kinsler: Kinsler singled to center
        • K. Calhoun: Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Calhoun doubled to deep center, Kinsler to third
        • Luis Valbuena hit for Martin Maldonado
        • L. Valbuena: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike looking, Valbuena struck out looking
        • M. Trout: Trout grounded out to pitcher
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • Y. Gurriel: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Gurriel lined out to center
        • J. Reddick: Foul, Reddick flied out to deep left
        • E. Gattis: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Gattis struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • J. Upton: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Upton grounded out to second
        • A. Pujols: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Pujols struck out swinging
        • A. Simmons: Ball, Simmons popped out to first
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • J. Altuve: Ball, Altuve lined out to shortstop
        • C. Correa: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Correa grounded out to third
        • B. McCann: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, McCann popped out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • M. Maldonado: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Maldonado struck out looking
        • M. Trout: Strike looking, Ball, Trout flied out to center
        • S. Ohtani: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ohtani struck out swinging
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • E. Gattis: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Gattis struck out swinging
        • T. Kemp: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Kemp reached on an infield single to shortstop
        • G. Springer: Pickoff attempt, Springer singled to left, Kemp to second
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Bregman grounded into double play third to second to first, Springer out at second
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • Z. Cozart: Strike looking, Cozart flied out to deep right
        • I. Kinsler: Ball, Foul, Kinsler lined out to right
        • K. Calhoun: Ball, Ball, Calhoun grounded out to second
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • C. Correa: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Correa walked
        • B. McCann: McCann lined out to left
        • Y. Gurriel: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Gurriel struck out swinging
        • J. Reddick: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Reddick struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • S. Ohtani: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ohtani grounded out to second
        • J. Upton: Upton flied out to deep center
        • A. Pujols: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Pujols singled to shallow left
        • A. Simmons: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Simmons grounded out to third
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • G. Springer: Ball, Foul, Springer popped out to second
        • A. Bregman: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Bregman lined out to left
        • J. Altuve: Altuve grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • K. Calhoun: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Calhoun struck out swinging
        • M. Maldonado: Maldonado fouled out to third
        • M. Trout: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Trout popped out to first
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • B. McCann: Ball, McCann flied out to left
        • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Gurriel grounded out to shortstop
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Reddick safe at first on 3rd baseman Cozart fielding error
        • E. Gattis: Strike looking, Gattis homered to left, Reddick scored
        • T. Kemp: Kemp grounded out to pitcher
        • Middle of the 2nd (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • A. Pujols: Ball, Foul, Pujols grounded out to shortstop
        • A. Simmons: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Simmons singled to left
        • Z. Cozart: Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Cozart flied out to deep center
        • I. Kinsler: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Pickoff attempt, Kinsler flied out to deep left
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • G. Richards Pitching:
        • G. Springer: Springer fouled out to catcher
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Bregman lined out to right
        • J. Altuve: Altuve doubled to deep right center
        • C. Correa: Ball, Correa lined out to right
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • M. Trout: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Trout popped out to second
        • S. Ohtani: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul tip, Ohtani struck out on foul tip
        • J. Upton: Upton lined out to right
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)