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Verlander pitches gem, King Tuck provides big hit to lift Astros over Yankees

Tucker’s three-run home run backs up Verlander’s solid pitching performance to tie the series.

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

A week ago, Justin Verlander had a rough outing against the White Sox. But on Friday, he was on top of his game to dominate the Yankees at Yankee Stadium with seven strong innings and guide the Astros to a 3-1 victory. Kyle Tucker drove in the Astros’ three runs with a three-run home run against starter Luis Severino, who was clearly outpitched by veteran Verlander.

In order to pick his ninth win of the campaign (9-3), Verlander allowed only four hits –including Giancarlo Stanton’s second long ball of the series— and one earned run. He gave up one free pass and recorded three punchouts.

This was a rare outing for Verlander as it was his first start with at least seven innings pitched, one or zero runs allowed, and three or fewer strikeouts since 2015, when he was still pitching for the Tigers.

Both Verlander and Severino were locked in without surrendering any run until the sixth inning. After Alex Bregman doubled and Yordan Álvarez drew a walk, Tucker didn’t waste time and deposited Severino’s first pitch into the seats, a 95.3 mph four-seamer. It was King Tuck’s 14th homer of the season and sixth in the last 17 games.

Speaking of Bregman, it’s nice to see him red hot as of late. The Astros third baseman is hitting .435 during his seven-game hitting streak (10-for-23) with a double, three round-trippers, seven RBIs, and eight scored runs.

The Yankees answered immediately with Stanton’s homer, but they ran out of gas this time. After Verlander was done with his 102nd pitch, Phil Maton took care of things with a scoreless eighth and Rafael Montero notched his fifth save of the year.

With a tied series, both teams will collide again on Saturday. Cristian Javier will face a tough challenge as former Astro Gerrit Cole will be his counterpart.