HOUSTON — Justin Verlander didn’t pitch out of the stretch until two outs in the fifth inning Friday night. That’s typically a good sign, even if he gave up a pair of solo homers that accounted for two of the four baserunners he would allow.
Verlander, who gave up solo homers to Kyle Lewis and Kyle Seager, was otherwise unscathed in leading the Astros to their eighth consecutive win on Opening Day by throwing six innings and getting plenty of offensive support in an 8-2 victory at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros haven’t lost an Opening Day game since they moved to the American League in 2013, including the past three with Verlander on the hill. Verlander, the 2019 AL Cy Young Award winner, allowed three hits and struck out seven to notch his 226th career win.
The homers by Lewis and Seager gave Seattle a 2-1 lead heading into the fifth before Houston’s offense rose to form. Michael Brantley’s three-run blast capped a five-run outburst that put the Astros ahead 6-2 and allowed Verlander to smile and exhale as he headed to the home clubhouse knowing his 12th career Opening Day start would end up in the win column.