Justin Verlander allows 2 runs over 6 innings in season debut for Astros

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justin Verlander allowed two runs and four his over six innings in the three-time Cy Young Award winner's season debut for the Houston Astros against the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

The 41-year-old right-hander, who began the season on the injured list because of right should inflammation, struck out four and walked none, throwing 59 of 78 pitches for strikes. Verlander averaged 94.3 mph with 35 four-seam fastballs and induced five groundouts. The nine-time All-Star retired the side in order four times.

Ildemaro Vargas hit an RBI single in the third and Riley Adams homered in the fourth, cutting Washington's deficit to 4-2.

“It’s huge, just for the morale of the club and his leadership and getting on the mound and competing," Astros manager Joe Espada said before the game. "We are all excited about that and what he means to this team for so many years. The guys are pretty excited about having him on the mound.”

Verlander had made a pair of minor league injury rehabilitation starts.

He retired his first eight batters before Adams doubled off the base of the wall in right-center field.

He was 13-8 with a 3.22 ERA last year for the New York Mets and Houston, who acquired him ahead of the trade deadline.



Byron Kerr, The Associated Press