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Justin Verlander nabs eighth win, Astros halt Marlins’ streak

Jun 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) reacts after a defensive play during the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander took over the major league lead in victories and the Houston Astros salvaged the finale of a three-game interleague series against the visiting Miami Marlins with a 9-4 victory on Sunday.

Jose Altuve homered, doubled and had three RBIs and Yordan Alvarez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Houston.

The Marlins had their five-game winning streak snapped. Houston went 2-4 on its six-game homestand, with Verlander recording both victories.

One start after recording a season-high 12 strikeouts, Verlander (8-2) allowed three hits and one walk with five strikeouts over seven innings. He retired the first 10 batters he faced before Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas recorded a one-out single in the fourth inning. Verlander then retired eight of the next nine batters.

However, the Marlins did not go quietly. Trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning, Miami scored four runs — all with two outs. The Astros contributed to the rally with some shaky defense, as errors by shortstop Jeremy Pena and Altuve played critical roles in the Marlins’ sudden rally.

Miami designated hitter Jorge Soler reached to open the seventh on a Pena throwing error. Verlander rebounded with a pair of outs before Willians Astudillo reached on an Altuve fielding error that enabled Soler to score. Verlander followed with a walk to Nick Fortes before Bryan De La Cruz drilled an 0-1 fastball 368 feet to left field, his second homer, to cut the deficit to 5-4.

All four runs surrendered by Verlander in the seventh were unearned.

Astros reliever Hector Neris worked a perfect eighth before Altuve hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the frame that provided insurance. Altuve smacked his 12th homer as Houston snapped a three-game skid.

Altuve got the Astros off to a promising start with a leadoff double in the first against Miami right-hander Edward Cabrera (2-1). Altuve advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Michael Brantley rolled a grounder to the right side of the infield.

Cabrera allowed four additional baserunners through the third inning and departed in the fourth as Houston tallied four runs.

Pena produced the decisive blow of the fourth, a two-run homer that drove in Yuli Gurriel and stretched the lead to 3-0. Brantley added another run-scoring grounder, this one plating Jose Siri, before scoring when Alvarez greeted Miami reliever Tommy Nance with a single to center. Gurriel and Siri walked off Cabrera, who allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks.

–Field Level Media