Yankees steamroll Verlander in 10-3 win, streak to 5-0 vs. Astros in 2024 season

Alex Verdugo and Giancarlo Stanton hit homers of Justin Verlander as the Yankees beat the Astros 10-3 at Yankee Stadium on May 7, 2024.

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The New York Yankees unleashed a relentless offensive onslaught against Justin Verlander, their long-time nemesis, in a stunning 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. The Bronx Bombers shattered their previous record for runs scored against the Astros’ ace since his arrival in Houston in 2017, showcasing a remarkable display of batting prowess.

Verlander, a central figure in the intense Yankees-Astros rivalry that has spanned over a decade, has consistently been a thorn in the side of the Yankees, particularly in the postseason. The two clubs have clashed three times in October, with Houston emerging victorious in each series, largely thanks to Verlander’s dominant performances. In his five postseason starts against the Yankees as an Astro, Houston has won four, and Verlander boasts an impressive 2.59 ERA in 12 total starts against New York.

However, on this momentous night, the Yankees finally broke the spell. They launched three home runs off Verlander, including a massive three-run blast by Alex Verdugo, while receiving a solid six-inning outing from their own starter, Luis Gil. Verdugo’s line-drive homer came in the bottom of the first inning, as he turned on a 95 mph fastball from Verlander, sending it 383 feet with an exit velocity of 107.4 mph.

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Verlander’s command was shaky from the onset, as he fell behind Juan Soto before surrendering a single and issuing walks to both Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo in the first inning. The Yankees capitalized on these early struggles, setting the tone for a game that would ultimately see them triumph over their long-standing adversary in emphatic fashion.

In a display of relentless offensive pressure, the Yankees continued to challenge Justin Verlander throughout the game. After Juan Soto singled and Aaron Judge drew a walk in the third inning, Alex Verdugo, batting cleanup against the right-hander, seized another opportunity with two runners on in the fourth. Verdugo delivered a clutch RBI single to center field, further chipping away at Verlander’s aura of invincibility. However, the veteran starter managed to limit the damage by striking out Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo, while inducing a flyout from Gleyber Torres to strand two runners.

The Yankees’ offensive assault continued in the fourth inning when rookie sensation Anthony Volpe stepped to the plate. Despite hitting the ball hard and deep to the warning track in his first two at-bats, Volpe refused to be denied. He connected with a Verlander fastball, launching it 354 feet to right field for a two-run homer, extending the Yankees’ lead to a commanding 6-1.

Verlander’s night took an even more disastrous turn in the fifth inning when Giancarlo Stanton led off with a mammoth 421-foot line drive home run. The ball rocketed off Stanton’s bat at an astonishing 118.8 mph, leaving no doubt about its final destination.

By the end of his outing, the Bronx Bombers had tagged the future Hall of Famer for seven earned runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings pitched. It was a rare sight to see Verlander, a pitcher renowned for his dominance and resilience, struggle so mightily against the Yankees’ potent lineup.

Yankees’ offense beat Astros’ Verlander squarely

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As the Yankees and Astros prepared to face off in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone addressed the media’s inquiries regarding Houston’s long-standing dominance and their surprising struggles in the early stages of the 2024 season.

For years, the Astros have been a thorn in the Yankees’ side, but the Bronx Bombers managed to sweep the first four games of the season at Minute Maid Park. Houston’s woes have persisted since then, with the Yankees’ nemesis entering Tuesday’s series opener sporting a disappointing 12-22 record, languishing in fourth place.

“You don’t expect to see them in the standings where they are,” Boone said before the game, “but it’s baseball, too. It’s a stretch. So you still expect them to get it going at some point. Hopefully, we can push that off a few days.”

Boone admitted that seeing the Astros in their current position was unexpected, but he also recognized the unpredictable nature of baseball and the length of the season, suggesting that he still expects them to turn things around at some point. However, he expressed hope that his team could postpone their resurgence for a few more days.

The Yankees achieved that objective on Tuesday, pummeling Justin Verlander for seven runs in a resounding 10-3 victory. Never before had the Yankees scored so many runs against the future Hall of Famer, but home runs plagued him from the very beginning.

Alex Verdugo kicked off the scoring for the Bombers, launching a mammoth three-run homer over the right-field fence in the first inning. The cleanup hitter took a moment to admire his handiwork before casually flipping his bat and savoring a leisurely 29.6-second trip around the bases.

Despite limited experience against Verlander, Verdugo recalled a fastball with “some pretty good ride.” The left-handed slugger kept that in mind as he stepped to the plate on Tuesday. Verdugo shared insights into his approach, acknowledging that in the past, he had a tendency to hit the ball under it. He emphasized that his focus for the game was to make adjustments and strive for lower-line drives by getting on top of the ball more effectively.

“I would always be under it, under it, under it,” Verdugo recalled. “So today was just more [about] trying to be a little bit more on top of the ball and just kind of lower line drives.”

The strategy paid off, as Verdugo also contributed an RBI single in the third inning. Boone commended Verdugo’s overall performance, noting that in addition to his offensive exploits, he had also made several outstanding defensive plays in left field.

The Yankees’ offensive onslaught against Justin Verlander continued in the fourth inning when Anthony Volpe took the veteran pitcher deep. The young shortstop, who had been mired in a slump, hitting just .163 over his previous 20 games, had made solid contact earlier in the contest but had only managed to produce loud outs before connecting for the two-run blast.

The fireworks didn’t stop there, as Giancarlo Stanton unleashed a mammoth drive in the fifth inning. The slugger’s 118.8-mph frozen rope to left field registered as the hardest-hit home run of the major league season.

Manager Aaron Boone revealed that he had actually called the home run while chatting with Brad Ausmus, although he hadn’t anticipated the ball’s incredible trajectory.

Boone expressed his astonishment at the unique path of the hit, likening it to a “two-iron variety” that morphed into a line drive to left field before unexpectedly landing in the bullpen. He praised Verdugo’s exceptional ability to hit the ball with such an unconventional trajectory, emphasizing that this rare talent sets him apart from other players.

“I didn’t know it was going to be of the two-iron variety where it’s base hit to left, ‘Oops, into the bullpen,’” Boone said. “He’s a unicorn in that way. He’s weird. It’s just absolutely remarkable to hit a ball at that trajectory the way he did. It’s a special, special talent.”

Verlander managed to avoid further damage after Stanton’s blast, but the Yankees’ offense continued to apply pressure. Aaron Judge added an RBI single in the sixth inning, followed by Jon Berti’s RBI single in the seventh. Anthony Volpe capped off the scoring by pushing a tenth run across on a fielder’s choice.

Reflecting on the impressive offensive display, Boone acknowledged that performances of this magnitude wouldn’t be a nightly occurrence, particularly against a pitcher of Verlander’s caliber. However, he expressed confidence in his team’s ability to deliver such outstanding results when the opportunity arises.

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