ANAHEIM -- If Justin Verlander (JV) doesn't look out, he might soon be receiving an "Angels Killer" fee at breakfast as well.A day after receiving his viral "Dodgers Killer" charge in Beverly Hills, the Astros ace gutted out his sixth straight win over the Angels in an 8-3 victory on
ANAHEIM -- If Justin Verlander (JV) doesn't look out, he might soon be receiving an "Angels Killer" fee at breakfast as well.
A day after receiving his viral "Dodgers Killer" charge in Beverly Hills, the Astros ace gutted out his sixth straight win over the Angels in an 8-3 victory on Saturday night. Verlander's scoreless streak at Angel Stadium was snapped at 26 innings, but his offense gave him more than enough to work with on Players' Weekend.
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"Those guys backed me up today. Today was a battle for me, physically. Just didn't feel great, for whatever reason," Verlander said. "I think anytime you go out there and know it's going to be a grind pretty much from the start, and you're able to keep your team in the driver's seat and help win a ballgame that way, it's a win."
Despite lacking his best stuff, the veteran right-hander held the Angels to three runs on six hits over six innings, striking out six. Over his last six starts against the Angels, Verlander is 6-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Verlander's biggest blemish was a first-pitch changeup in the fourth inning to Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani (Showtime), whose two-run homer put the Angels on the board and ended Verlander's scoreless streak.
Verlander threw only two changeups, both of them to Ohtani. Neither fooled the Japanese phenom, who hit a double off a changeup in the second inning.
"I've been trying to work my changeup into my repertoire more," Verlander said. "Threw it to him, and he obviously saw it very well. ... He obviously saw right it out of my hand and was able to make an adjustment. He's got tremendous power."
• A-Breg extends streak as Astros back JV early
The Astros gave Verlander a 3-0 lead before he took the mound, with Alex Bregman (A-Breg), Marwin Gonzalez (MarGo) and Yuli Gurriel (La Piña) doubling off Angels starter Jaime Barria (El Pana) to key a big first inning.
Gurriel doubled in another run in the third inning, then the Astros broke out again in a four-run eighth, with Gonzalez homering for the second straight night.
Gonzalez has hit eight of his 14 home runs in August, and he holds a .308/.388/.606 line in 121 plate appearances since the All-Star break.
"Marwin's in a good place right now," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I think, physically, he's in a good place with his hitting mechanics. His pitch selection has been exceptional. He's been getting a lot of big hits for us and certainly delivering some power. I think his numbers are up since the All-Star break. We've seen this before, so I I'm not shocked, by any means."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A Jose Altuve (Tuve) hit-by-pitch gave the Astros a scare in the seventh inning, as Angels reliever Justin Anderson hit the All-Star second baseman on his left elbow with a 99-mph fastball. Altuve stayed in the game but is questionable for Sunday's finale.
With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth, Astros reliever Roberto Osuna hit Ohtani in the back with a pitch, triggering warnings for both dugouts.
That led to Angels reliever William McGuire and manager Mike Scioscia being ejected in the ninth after McGuire hit Gurriel on his left leg with a 93-mph fastball on a 1-1 pitch.
• Altuve may miss finale after hit by pitch
Bregman's leadoff double in the first inning extended his MLB-best road on-base streak to 44 games, now the second-longest such streak in Astros history. Bregman had been tied with Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell (1998) and Altuve (2016). Bagwell has the club record with a 51 game streak, set during the 1998-99 seasons.
Verlander's 26-inning scoreless streak at Angel Stadium ranks fourth all-time among visiting pitchers, six innings short of former Orioles left-hander Mike Cuellar's 32-inning record, set during the 1969-70 seasons.
HE SAID IT
"He can afford it." -- Hinch, on a Beverly Hills restaurant charging Verlander a $1 million "Dodger Killer" fee during breakfast on Friday
After getting the win with 4 1/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen in his MLB debut on Tuesday, Framber Valdez will get his first career start at 3:07 p.m. CT Sunday in the series finale with the Angels. The left-hander had a 4.11 ERA in 103 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He'll be opposed by Halos right-hander Felix Pena.
Jack Baer is a contributor to MLB.com based in Southern California.