Astros vs Yankees Game 1: Justin Verlander Breaks Records, Gives Houston Series Lead Over New York


Astros ace Justin Verlander struckout 11 batters in six impressive innings to inspire Houston to a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series opener on Wednesday.

The 39-year old pitcher set a Major League-record in the process, with his eighth postseason double-digit strikeout game of his career.

Now at 219, he is also the all-time leader in playoff strikeouts, overtaking Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“As the game progresses, you only get more confidence as you start making better pitches,” Verlander said after Game 1.

“Once I was able to execute my pitches the way I wanted, I feel like my confidence was built on that.”

Seeking their first World Series title since 2017 after earning their sixth straight ALCS, the Astros also had Yuli Gurriel, Chas McCormick and Jeremy Peña to thank.

All three stepped up to hit solo home runs, giving the Astros the series lead and demonstrating the depth of talent on the roster.

“We have a really good lineup and it looks like if the big boys don’t go, the bottom of the lineup could start,” McCormick told reporters after the game.

“If the bottom of the lineup doesn’t go, the big boys can go. It just says a bit how complete this team is.”

This season’s record-breaking slugger Aaron Judge, who made a brilliant dive into the bottom of the first of an Alex Bregman swing, says his team is fully aware of what they’re up against.

“They have an amazing staff, head to toe,” Judge told reporters. “They have great arms out of the pen that are effective on both sides of the plate and good starting pitchers who can mix three to four pitches.

“It’s a tough game, but you want to compete against the best. That’s what we have in front of us. We have to go out and do our job.”

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Thursday and the Yankees are hoping for a level tie.

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