An outdated October nemesis resurfaced to remind the almost-unbeatable Yankees that it isn’t going to be really easy within the postseason.
In a pitcher’s duel constructed for an even bigger stage than a June Friday evening in The Bronx, Justin Verlander bested Luis Severino, stopped the Yankees’ 15-game residence successful streak and helped his Astros recuperate from an emotional roundhouse by sending the Yankees to a 3-1 loss.
Verlander allowed simply 4 hits and a stroll over seven innings in entrance of the third sellout crowd and the highest-paid attendance (47,528) of the season.
Not that it was shocking to see classic Verlander (9-3) in his first begin in opposition to the Yankees for the reason that 2019 ALCS. The 2-time Cy Younger Award winner — bidding for a 3rd along with his 2.22 ERA and 0.87 WHIP this season — pitched six complete innings over the earlier two seasons as a consequence of harm and Tommy John surgical procedure, however the Yankees nonetheless entered the Verlander sweepstakes when he was a free agent final December.
Justin Verlander had the Yankees off-balance all evening. Robert Sabo for the NY POST
“It hasn’t been, ‘Let’s see the way it goes.’ It’s been Verlander,” Yankees supervisor Aaron Boone stated earlier than the sport. “Corridor of Famer nonetheless pitching at that stage. I might say we’re shocked, however probably not. I do know our curiosity stage within the offseason and he’s gone out and pitched like an ace for them.”
Booed throughout introductions by followers who haven’t forgotten he was a part of the sign-stealing Astros in 2017, Verlander didn’t permit a runner previous second base till Giancarlo Stanton’s solo residence run with one out within the backside of the sixth. There was no carryover from the Yankees’ four-run, ninth-inning rally Thursday to steal a win. Their largest “menace” earlier than Stanton’s homer amounted to placing two on with two out within the second inning.
Verlander is 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA in eight profession playoff begins in opposition to the Yankees for the Tigers and Astros mixed. If he begins in opposition to the Yankees on this yr’s playoffs (they personal the 2 greatest data within the American League up to now), Severino (4-2) is certainly one of many prospects the Yankees might name on to counter him.
Luis Severino pitches Friday evening in the course of the Yankees’ loss to the Astros. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Put up
As was the case with Verlander, all the injury in opposition to Severino was finished on one pitch. Stanton’s residence run got here with the bases empty, however Kyle Tucker smacked a three-run shot within the sixth inning. Recreation over, primarily, although the Yankees introduced the potential successful to the plate in each the eighth and ninth innings.
Severino was at his greatest after permitting a double and a single to begin the fifth inning. With runners on the corners, he struck out Jason Castro, Aledmys Diaz and Jose Altuve consecutively to carry the scoreless tie. It was the second straight inning during which the Astros stranded two.
Kyle Tucker crushes a three-run homer within the sixth inning. USA TODAY Sports activities
When the first-base umpire punched out Altuve for not checking his swing, Severino fiercely pumped his arms as he walked off the mound. After all, that was most likely the kindest therapy that The Bronx’s No. 1 villain obtained Friday, contemplating he as soon as once more was booed loudly throughout pregame introductions and earlier than each at-bat — customary ever for the reason that Astros’ trash-can-banging, sign-stealing scandal got here to gentle.
There was no such luck within the sixth, although. Tucker’s homer made Severino pay for strolling Yordan Alvarez after Alex Bregman doubled with one out.
Severino retired the primary 10 hitters he confronted and completed with a top quality begin, hanging out seven and strolling two on 95 pitches.