Sometimes pitchers return from Tommy John surgery stronger than they were before. Could that be the case with 39-year-old Justin Verlander?
It sure looked that way tonight.
Verlander went 8.0 innings, allowing only three hits and and eight Ks. He threw 64 out of 87 pitches for strikes averaging almost 95 MPH on his fastball while nibbling at the corners all night. The Mariners scored 11 runs against the Astros just the night before.
Jeremy Pena was 3-3, with two runs scored, and was a home run away from the cycle. He almost had that too; his one RBI in the second inning came on a sac fly that went to the warning track in straight away center.
The rest of the offensive punch came from Marttin Maldonado, who hit in Pena with a two run homer in the fifth, the first hit by any Astros catcher so far this year.
With Ryan Pressly on the IL, Hector Neris came in to blank the M’s in the ninth to secure the win.
The Astros bring Jose Urquidy to the mound tomorrow at 3:10 CT to secure the series victory over the Mariners.