Justin Verlander allowed two hits and struck out 13 over seven innings as the visiting Houston Astros recorded a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
Robinson Chirinos belted a solo homer and former Indians outfielder Michael Brantley added an RBI single later in the fifth inning for the Astros, who have won three in a row and 10 of their last 12 games.
Houston’s Jose Altuve posted his second straight three-hit performance and Yuli Gurriel had a one-out single in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.
Verlander (14-4), who recorded his first win in Cleveland since 2013, has 43 strikeouts over his four-start winning streak. The 2011 American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award recipient struck out the side in the fifth inning and notched his 2,900th career punchout by fanning rookie Oscar Mercado to end the sixth.
Roberto Perez singled to lead off the third inning and Greg Allen did the same to begin the sixth for the Indians, who were shut out for the ninth time this season.
Chirinos deposited a 1-2 offering from Shane Bieber (10-4) over the wall in right-center field to give Houston a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. The homer was Chirinos’ 13th of the season and first since his six-RBI performance in a 15-2 win over Toronto on June 14.
The Astros doubled the advantage later in the inning as Altuve ripped a two-out double before scoring on Brantley’s two-out liner to right field. Tyler Naquin nearly caught Brantley’s line drive, but officials upheld the initial ruling that the ball hit the ground.
Verlander held the Indians in check before exiting after 105 pitches, 71 of which were strikes.
Will Harris struck out two in the eighth inning and Roberto Osuna needed six pitches to retire the side in the ninth to secure his 24th save of the season.
Bieber sustained his first loss since June 20 despite permitting two runs on nine hits while striking out eight in seven innings.
—Field Level Media