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Yankees 1, Astros 5: Justin Verlander shut down the Bombers once again

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Greg Bird’s home run was all the Yankees could muster against Verlander.

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The last time the Yankees faced Justin Verlander, he held them to three hits over eight innings. Although they fared better against him today, they still weren’t able to squeak out the win. The good news is that Domingo German had better stuff, Greg Bird shook off some of the rust, and Tommy Kahnle put together a 1-2-3 inning.

After a scoreless first inning, Houston struck first. Yuli Gurriel singled on a ball off the heel of Didi Gregorius’ glove that probably should have been an error. Evan Gattis worked a walk, and J.D. Davis homered to left field. The fourth started off with a bad play, too. Gurriel reached on a throwing error by Gleyber Torres, then Marwin Gonzalez dunked a ball into shallow left. An RBI single off the bat of Gattis gave the Astros a 4-0 lead.

German ended up lasting five and two-thirds innings with seven strikeouts. The defense didn’t do him any favors, but it was an encouraging outing. A.J. Cole surrendered a solo shot to Jose Altuve to make it a 5-1 game, and Kanhle notched a strikeout during a scoreless inning of work.

The Yankees had a couple of early chances, but left their runners stranded. In the bottom of the second, Gleyber Torres singled over a leaping Carlos Correa, and Aaron Hicks was hit by a pitch on his back toe. With one out, Didi Gregorius flew out, and Torres was picked off second to end the inning. They also got two runners on with two outs in the fifth before Neil Walker popped out.

Finally, the Yankees got to Verlander in the seventh. Greg Bird hit a leadoff home run into the short porch—his first of the season—and Didi Gregorius singled up on the middle. That was enough to chase Verlander from the game. The Astros bullpen worked hard during last night’s extra innings loss to Cleveland, but were still able to shut down the offense. Ken Giles came out for the ninth inning, and Yankees fans were hoping for a repeat of his memorable meltdown in Houston a couple weeks ago. Instead, he worked around a leadoff single to Bird to close out the game.

The Yankees will try to even out the series tomorrow with CC Sabathia set to take the mound opposite of Charlie Morton at 7:05 ET.

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