One raised his right arm in triumph, the other in disbelief.
In a historic first-ever matchup of starting aces, Justin Verlander (Houston Astros) knocked out Max Scherzer (Texas Rangers).안전놀이터
Verlander started the game against Texas at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on July 7 and went seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk. Houston won 12-3, giving Verlander his 11th win of the season. He lowered his ERA from 3.34 to 3.23 and struck out six to increase his season total to 119.
Scherzer, on the other hand, gave up seven runs on six hits and two walks, including three home runs in three innings. He was removed after just 60 pitches. The seven runs were his most of the season. His previous two six-run outings came in the first half of games with the New York Mets.
With the loss, Scherzer fell to 12-6 on the season and saw his ERA worsen from 3.55 to 3.91.
Verlander threw 100 pitches. His four-seam fastball, which he used 41 times, topped out at 96.4 mph and averaged 94.4 mph. He threw a mix of 26 sliders, 25 curves, and eight changeups. The changeup was his favorite pitch at 59%.
Of his 26 four-seam fastballs, Scherzer topped out at 95.0 mph and averaged 93.8 mph. His pitches were as usual. He threw 12 curves, 10 sliders, eight cutters, and four changeups, all of which were well below their season averages, including his fastball. His command was bad, and his pitches were shaky.
The game was close early on. In the top of the first, Scherzer gave up a double to Jeremy Peña in left field, then a double to Jordan Alvarez up the middle. It was a three-pitch, 94-mph fastball into the middle of the plate.
Verlander got off to a shaky start in the top of the next inning, giving up a solo home run to leadoff hitter Marcus Simien in left-center, but he retired the next four batters before giving up a run in the fifth on a fielding error, but retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh to earn a Quality Start+.
Scherzer, on the other hand, gave up a solo shot to right field to Michael Brantley in the bottom of the second and then a grand slam to Jose Abreu in the third. After a leadoff single by Peña, a walk to Alvarez and another walk to Kyle Tucker loaded the bases, Scherzer gave up a three-pitch 84-mph slider to Abreu, who smashed a grand slam over the left-center field fence. The score was 7-1, and the game was effectively over.
Houston swept the three-game series against Texas, improving to 80-61 and maintaining its lead in the AL West. The second-place Seattle Mariners also swept the Cincinnati Reds to stay within one game of them.
On the other hand, the road-bound Texas Rangers lost a heartbreaker despite losing their ace Scherzer and fell into the third AL Wild Card spot. The third-place Toronto Blue Jays lost to the Oakland Athletics earlier in the day, so the two teams are still separated by 0.5 games.