Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Astros News

Astros bust out with 4 HRs to back JV in Bronx

Verlander fans 9 over 7 innings to pick up 10th win of season
@feinsand
June 23, 2019

NEW YORK -- One day after manager AJ Hinch said the Astros were "a little snakebitten," Houston bit back. The Astros slammed four home runs in support of Justin Verlander, who gave his team seven solid innings in a 9-4 victory Sunday at Yankee Stadium, bringing Houston's season-worst seven-game losing

NEW YORK -- One day after manager AJ Hinch said the Astros were "a little snakebitten," Houston bit back.

The Astros slammed four home runs in support of Justin Verlander, who gave his team seven solid innings in a 9-4 victory Sunday at Yankee Stadium, bringing Houston's season-worst seven-game losing streak to a convincing halt.

Box score

"It was definitely nice to get a W at the end of a road trip against a really good ballclub," said Verlander, who allowed three runs on four hits and two walks, striking out nine. "I told these guys after the game, we showed our mettle today. It would have been easy to look forward to the off-day tomorrow and just say, 'This was a tough road trip and let's reset.' That's what good teams do; we found a way to win today. The boys came out swinging the bat. That was a big W for us."

Houston hit three of those homers against Yankees starter J.A. Happ, the big blow coming in the fourth inning when Tyler White belted a grand slam, giving Verlander a 6-0 lead.

White had been 0-for-10 in his career with the bases loaded prior to the at-bat, but he drilled a 1-0 two-seamer from Happ over the wall in right-center field to break the game open.

"I thought I put a good swing on the ball last night to end the game, but it didn't work out for me," White said. "It was definitely a confidence booster to have one work out for me. It was good to hit a grand slam."

White's slam was the seventh by an Astros hitter this season, matching the franchise record, most recently accomplished last season.

"He was really seeking that first bases-loaded hit," Hinch said. "He's had a couple of hard-hit balls that didn't go his way this road trip with the bases loaded. A big, big swing in a ballpark that rewards you for that kind of swing."

José Altuve set the tone right away for the Astros, belting a leadoff homer, the 12th of his career. With Verlander on the hill, the quick lead seemed to settle the Astros down after what had been a rocky week.

"It was a big swing for us," Hinch said. "We come into this game a little bit beat up mentally and physically, obviously we needed a win in the worst way, just the way the week has gone. The first at-bat, we have a 1-0 lead; it kind of woke the dugout up and got a really good day started."

Michael Brantley's RBI single gave Verlander a 2-0 lead in the third, but White's slam in the fourth allowed the right-hander to stay aggressive and the rest of the team to play with a looseness that seemingly hadn't been there for several days.

The Astros had been 7-for-53 (.132) with runners in scoring position during the losing streak, stranding 61 runners on base. Sunday, they were 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position, leaving only four on base.

"It was just a weight off a bunch of guys' shoulders, especially when you leave guys on base in big spots," Verlander said. "I think we left a lot of baserunners on and weren't really succeeding with runners in scoring position. That happens. It comes and goes, but when it starts happening for a week, guys start pressing a little bit and trying to do too much. I think that was a huge hit in this series, a huge hit for today, and hopefully it just gives everybody a big sigh going into the off-day, and we can come in re-energized."

Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run homer against Happ in the fourth, ending the left-hander's afternoon. Luis Cessa replaced him, but he didn't fare any better, serving up a solo shot by Yuli Gurriel that extended the lead to 9-0. It marked the sixth time this season the Astros have hit back-to-back homers.

DJ LeMahieu hit a three-run homer in the fifth to put the Yankees on the board. It was the first three-run homer given up by Verlander since April 15, 2017, when he was still pitching for the Tigers.

The Astros will welcome the Pirates to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to open a six-game homestand as Gerrit Cole faces his former team for the first time since being traded to Houston prior to the 2018 season. Sunday's win allows the Astros to feel better about themselves on the flight home, but it remains to be seen whether it can jump-start a team that just endured its worst week in four years.

"Anything can spark a team as talented as ours," Verlander said. "Over the course of 162 games, you're going to go through ebbs and flows, you're going to have ups and downs, you're going to slump sometimes as a team, and things are going to always seem to go against you -- which is kind of what it was seeming like this last week. Sometimes the script gets flipped and things start going your way. You never know what can spark a ballclub like this; I think today could definitely be that catalyst."

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.