The Astros 15-1 victory was packed with drama. Charlie Morton was knocked out early, Justin Verlander got ejected, and Yordan Alvarez keeps amazing us.
The pitching battle between Verlander and Morton didn’t quite turn into the duel most expected. Morton made it an early night with a TKO in the fourth and Verlander got himself tossed out of the ring in the sixth. But Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez continued to do what has now become expected, knocking balls over the fence.
The drama unfolded early as Houston paid tribute to Morton for his days here as an Astro. While he was warming up in the outfield they played a video of some of his most memorable moments. It was obviously an emotional occasion for Morton as he tipped his cap to a standing ovation.
But was there an ulterior motive behind it all? Could it be they were just trying to knock Morton off his game? All kidding aside, he wasn’t his normal efficient self last night. The Astros went on to score six runs on seven hits and two walks in his four innings of work, making it a short night for Morton.
Charlie Morton after the game said, “Spent two really good years here. We did some special things together over there. So yeah, it means a lot. Right before the game too..a little rough. They got me with that one & then they took it to me on the mound”
The drama continued on in the sixth inning as Justin Verlander thought he had Tommy Pham looking at strike three. Umpire Pat Homberg called it a ball and Pham hit a double on the ensuing pitch. Verlander expressed his displeasure with the call and following a little back and forth between the two, Verlander was ejected from the game.
Needless to say, Verlander was not a happy camper. “I didn’t really think it was warranted,” Verlander said. “As an umpire, I think Pat needs to understand this is an emotional game, and sometimes when things don’t go your way, you let the umpire know it. I thought I did it in about as respectful a way as I could where my emotions were at.”
He did pitch 5.1 innings of scoreless ball and got the win, bringing his record to 16-5 on the year. However, his streak of games with ten or more strikeouts did come to an end at seven. Verlander lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.69 for the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, Morton wasn’t the only pitcher they took advantage of going on to score nine more runs off of three different pitchers. Yordan Alvarez hit his 20th and 21st home run as he continues to show why he’s the top candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award. He now has 62 RBIs in his 60 appearances this season.
Everyone contributed with their bats last night with all nine starters and two replacements getting hits and ten of those eleven crossing the plate. Josh Reddick‘s bat seems to have come alive as of late going 5-for-7 over the last two games, including his 3-for-5 performance last night. Alex Bregman and Alvarez also had three hits and Robinson Chirinos added his 15th homer in the mix.
The Astros will try to continue their winning streak tonight with two more very talented pitchers on the mound. Gerrit Cole will put his 15-5 record and 2.75 ERA up against the 11-3 Ryan Yarbrough and his 3.29 ERA.