Verlander allows 2 HRs in 2-hitter, loses 2-1 to Tigers

HOUSTON (AP) Justin Verlander was splendid against the Detroit Tigers, pitching a two-hitter and fanning 11 in another dominant performance for the Astros.

Houston's offense wasn't nearly as sharp on Wednesday night, and it led to an unusual, 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 by our starting pitcher.''

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 tiebreaking blast to left-center field off Verlander (15-5), who leads the majors in strikeouts with 239 but ranks second in homers allowed with 33.

Hicks has a long history with Verlander. His brother Daniel went to high school with him and was in his wedding to supermodel Kate Upton in 2017.

''It's surreal for sure,'' Hicks said. ''I remember being 10 years old watching him and my brother play in high school and watching him dominate.''

Verlander retired the first 14 batters, with six strikeouts, before Rodriguez homered to the seats in right with two outs in the fifth. The veteran right-hander sat down another 10 straight before Hicks connected.

''That's the biggest win for us in a long, long time, especially against a premium team like that, a World Series contender and Verlander on the mound,'' Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''In Detroit we got him last year at the All-Star break and we got him again, but we really didn't get him very much tonight.''

Verlander, who spent 13 seasons with the Tigers, didn't fault the offense.

''I don't blame anybody but myself,'' he said. ''I could have done a better job executing pitches there in the ninth inning.''

He threw 99 pitches and extended his franchise record of games with 10 or more strikeouts to seven as he lost for the first time since June 18.

Robinson Chirinos belted his 14th homer to left-center on Tyler Alexander's first pitch of the seventh to tie it at 1. Chirinos finished with four hits. Needing a triple for the cycle, he doubled with two outs in the ninth but was thrown out trying to reach third to end the game.

''When you make a mistake like that, you don't deserve to win the game,'' Chirinos said.

Opener Daniel Norris allowed two hits in three innings for Detroit. Alexander worked four innings, Buck Farmer (5-4) walked one in a scoreless eighth and Joe Jimenez finished the Tigers' six-hitter for his fourth save.

Jose Altuve walked with one out in the eighth, but was erased when he tried to go first to third on an infield grounder by Alex Bregman to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Josh James (shoulder soreness) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday night. Hinch said James, who has been out since July 23, likely won't rejoin the team until September. ... INF Aledmys Diaz took batting practice on Wednesday and could come off the injured list early next week. Diaz was hospitalized Aug. 17 after experiencing dizziness on the team bus in Oakland.

NATURE BOY CALLS

Houston outfielder Josh Reddick, who has used WWE star Ric Flair's signature yell of ''Woooo!'' for years instead of walk-up music, hosted the flamboyant Flair at the game on Wednesday night. Reddick, who had a day off on Wednesday, donned a wrestling robe and championship belt when he came on the field during batting practice to greet the 70-year-old. Flair was decked out in gold jewelry, including necklaces, a bracelet and a blinged-out watch, and wore a white Astros jersey with his nickname, ''Nature Boy,'' printed on the back.

Reddick called Flair his hero and the wrestler was asked to describe the ballplayer.

''He's married now, but before he was married ... Josh Reddick would have been a kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing, limousine-riding, jet-flying, home run-hitting Houston Astro,'' Flair said.

Flair bounced the ceremonial first pitch to Reddick, who was crouched behind the plate.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-8, 6.66 ERA) is scheduled to start for Detroit when the series wraps up on Thursday night. Zimmermann allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings in his last start against Tampa Bay, but did not factor in the decision.

Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87) will start on Thursday after being scratched from his last start on Aug. 15 because of discomfort in his right hamstring. Cole, who ranks second in the majors with 226 strikeouts, has won his last 10 decisions.

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123456789RHE
DET38-86
000010001220
HOU81-47
000000100160
  • W: B. Farmer (5-4)L: J. Verlander (15-5)S: J. Jimenez (4)
  • HR: DET - R. Rodriguez (9), J. Hicks (9), HOU - R. Chirinos (14)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
V. Reyes LF40000030.273.321.398.720-1.5
T. Demeritte RF40000030.275.338.464.801-1.5
M. Cabrera DH30000010.280.341.390.732-0.5
H. Castro CF30000010.280.296.381.677-0.5
D. Lugo 3B30000000.207.239.283.5210.0
R. Rodriguez 1B31111010.222.250.455.7055.5
J. Mercer SS30000010.251.294.404.698-0.5
J. Hicks C31111010.202.236.348.5845.5
G. Beckham 2B30000000.223.285.386.6710.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    G. Springer RF40200000.295.379.568.9472.0
    J. Altuve 2B30000122.299.361.542.9030.0
    A. Bregman 3B30000102.277.406.551.9581.0
    Y. Alvarez DH40000012.327.417.6831.100-0.5
    Y. Gurriel 1B40000011.304.341.544.885-0.5
    R. Chirinos C41411000.239.347.433.78011.0
    J. Marisnick CF30000023.242.298.441.739-1.0
    J. Mayfield SS30000011.132.148.283.431-0.5
    M. Straw LF30000000.235.350.294.6440.0
      BATTING
      • HR - R. Rodriguez (9), J. Hicks (9)
      • RBI - R. Rodriguez (26), J. Hicks (21)
      • 2-Out RBI - R. Rodriguez (10)
      BATTING
      • 2B - R. Chirinos 2 (17)
      • HR - R. Chirinos (14)
      • RBI - R. Chirinos (45)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Altuve, Y. Alvarez, J. Marisnick 2 (2), J. Mayfield
      FIELDING
      • Outfield Assist - H. Castro (3)
      • DP - (Mercer-Rodriguez-Lugo)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      D. Norris3.02000204.701.398.0
      T. Alexander4.03111316.031.568.5
      B. Farmer (W, 5-4)1.00001003.741.309.0
      J. Jimenez (S, 4)1.01000204.721.3010.0
      PITCHERSIP
      D. Norris3.0
      T. Alexander4.0
      B. Farmer (W, 5-4)1.0
      J. Jimenez (S, 4)1.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Verlander (L, 15-5)9.022201122.770.8126.5
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Verlander (L, 15-5)9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - D. Norris 45-33, T. Alexander 73-48, B. Farmer 13-6, J. Jimenez 12-8
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Norris 2-5, T. Alexander 1-8, B. Farmer 2-0
      • Batters Faced - D. Norris 11, T. Alexander 16, B. Farmer 3, J. Jimenez 3
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 99-75
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 8-8
      • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 29
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      DET38-86
      000010001220
      HOU81-47
      000000100160
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      V. Reyes LF40000030.273.321.398.720-1.5
      T. Demeritte RF40000030.275.338.464.801-1.5
      M. Cabrera DH30000010.280.341.390.732-0.5
      H. Castro CF30000010.280.296.381.677-0.5
      D. Lugo 3B30000000.207.239.283.5210.0
      R. Rodriguez 1B31111010.222.250.455.7055.5
      J. Mercer SS30000010.251.294.404.698-0.5
      J. Hicks C31111010.202.236.348.5845.5
      G. Beckham 2B30000000.223.285.386.6710.0
      Total2922220110-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        G. Springer RF40200000.295.379.568.9472.0
        J. Altuve 2B30000122.299.361.542.9030.0
        A. Bregman 3B30000102.277.406.551.9581.0
        Y. Alvarez DH40000012.327.417.6831.100-0.5
        Y. Gurriel 1B40000011.304.341.544.885-0.5
        R. Chirinos C41411000.239.347.433.78011.0
        J. Marisnick CF30000023.242.298.441.739-1.0
        J. Mayfield SS30000011.132.148.283.431-0.5
        M. Straw LF30000000.235.350.294.6440.0
        Total3116112711-----
          BATTING
          • HR - R. Rodriguez (9), J. Hicks (9)
          • RBI - R. Rodriguez (26), J. Hicks (21)
          • 2-Out RBI - R. Rodriguez (10)
          BATTING
          • 2B - R. Chirinos 2 (17)
          • HR - R. Chirinos (14)
          • RBI - R. Chirinos (45)
          • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - J. Altuve, Y. Alvarez, J. Marisnick 2 (2), J. Mayfield
          FIELDING
          • Outfield Assist - H. Castro (3)
          • DP - (Mercer-Rodriguez-Lugo)
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          D. Norris3.02000204.701.398.0
          T. Alexander4.03111316.031.568.5
          B. Farmer (W, 5-4)1.00001003.741.309.0
          J. Jimenez (S, 4)1.01000204.721.3010.0
          Total9.0611271---
          PITCHERSIP
          D. Norris3.0
          T. Alexander4.0
          B. Farmer (W, 5-4)1.0
          J. Jimenez (S, 4)1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          J. Verlander (L, 15-5)9.022201122.770.8126.5
          Total9.02220112---
          PITCHERSIP
          J. Verlander (L, 15-5)9.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - D. Norris 45-33, T. Alexander 73-48, B. Farmer 13-6, J. Jimenez 12-8
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Norris 2-5, T. Alexander 1-8, B. Farmer 2-0
          • Batters Faced - D. Norris 11, T. Alexander 16, B. Farmer 3, J. Jimenez 3
          PITCHING
          • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 99-75
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 8-8
          • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 29
          • 9TH INNING
            Hicks homered to left21
          • 7TH INNING
            Chirinos homered to left11
          • 5TH INNING
            Rodriguez homered to right10
          • 9TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • J. Hicks: Ball, Hicks homered to left
            • G. Beckham: Beckham flied out to shallow right
            • V. Reyes: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Reyes lined out to first
            • T. Demeritte: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Demeritte struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 9th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • Joe Jimenez relieved Buck Farmer
            • Y. Alvarez: Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Alvarez struck out looking
            • Y. Gurriel: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Gurriel struck out swinging
            • R. Chirinos: Foul, Ball, Ball, Chirinos doubled to deep center, Chirinos out at third
            • End of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • D. Lugo: Ball, Foul, Lugo grounded out to shortstop
            • R. Rodriguez: Strike swinging, Ball, Rodriguez lined out to left
            • J. Mercer: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Mercer struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Buck Farmer relieved Tyler Alexander
            • G. Springer: Springer grounded out to third
            • J. Altuve: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Altuve walked
            • A. Bregman: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Bregman grounded into double play shortstop to first to third, Altuve out at third
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • T. Demeritte: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Demeritte struck out swinging
            • M. Cabrera: Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Cabrera grounded out to shortstop
            • H. Castro: Ball, Castro grounded out to first
            • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • T. Alexander Pitching:
            • R. Chirinos: Chirinos homered to left
            • J. Marisnick: Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Marisnick struck out swinging
            • J. Mayfield: Mayfield lined out to right
            • M. Straw: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Straw flied out to deep right
            • End of the 7th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • J. Hicks: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Hicks struck out swinging
            • G. Beckham: Foul, Ball, Ball, Beckham lined out to center
            • V. Reyes: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Reyes struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • T. Alexander Pitching:
            • A. Bregman: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Bregman flied out to right
            • Y. Alvarez: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Alvarez grounded out to second
            • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Foul, Gurriel popped out to shortstop
            • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • H. Castro: Castro flied out to right
            • D. Lugo: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Lugo grounded out to shortstop
            • R. Rodriguez: Strike swinging, Rodriguez homered to right
            • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Mercer fouled out to first
            • Middle of the 5th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • T. Alexander Pitching:
            • J. Mayfield: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Mayfield struck out on foul tip
            • M. Straw: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Straw lined out to first
            • G. Springer: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Springer singled to right
            • J. Altuve: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Altuve flied out to right
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • V. Reyes: Foul, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Reyes struck out swinging
            • T. Demeritte: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Demeritte struck out swinging
            • M. Cabrera: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Cabrera struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Tyler Alexander relieved Daniel Norris
            • A. Bregman: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bregman walked
            • Y. Alvarez: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Alvarez lined out to center
            • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Gurriel flied out to center
            • R. Chirinos: Strike looking, Chirinos singled to center, Bregman to second
            • J. Marisnick: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Marisnick struck out swinging
            • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 3RD INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • J. Mercer: Ball, Strike swinging, Mercer grounded out to third
            • J. Hicks: Strike swinging, Hicks grounded out to pitcher
            • G. Beckham: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Beckham grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Da. Norris Pitching:
            • M. Straw: Strike looking, Foul, Straw flied out to right
            • G. Springer: Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Springer grounded out to pitcher
            • J. Altuve: Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Altuve struck out swinging
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • H. Castro: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul tip, Castro struck out on foul tip
            • D. Lugo: Strike looking, Ball, Lugo grounded out to third
            • R. Rodriguez: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Rodriguez struck out swinging
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Da. Norris Pitching:
            • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Gurriel grounded out to second
            • R. Chirinos: Chirinos doubled to deep left
            • J. Marisnick: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Marisnick popped out to second
            • J. Mayfield: Mayfield popped out to second
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • J. Verlander Pitching:
            • V. Reyes: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Reyes struck out swinging
            • T. Demeritte: Strike swinging, Demeritte popped out to shortstop
            • M. Cabrera: Foul, Cabrera flied out to deep center
            • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • Da. Norris Pitching:
            • G. Springer: Foul, Ball, Springer reached on an infield single to third
            • J. Altuve: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Altuve struck out swinging
            • A. Bregman: Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bregman flied out to center
            • Y. Alvarez: Ball, Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Alvarez flied out to left
            • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)