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MIA 4, HOU 9: Verlander and Steady ‘Stros Snap Streak

Justin Verlander pitches 7 strong, while Edward Cabrera takes a slight step backward in finale loss.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If the five-game win streak the Miami Marlins (27-31) were cruising on was set to end, who more appropriate to snap it than Justin Verlander? Making just his 3rd career start against - and first since 2016 - against Miami, the future Hall of Famer cruised through the first 6 innings Sunday, limiting the Fish to just 2 hits.

Entering the 7th, with a 5-0 lead, the Fish would hang a four-spot on the former MVP. Errors at the hands of Jeremy Peña - who had previously hit a two-run home run in the 4th - and Jose Altuve laid the groundwork for what would turn out to be a four-run 7th inning capped off by Bryan De La Cruz’s 2nd home run of the season.

Verlander would exit after finshing his third outing in which he’d allow 4 unearned runs in a 9-4 Houston victory. The win, the 234 of his career, sees him take sole possession of first place with an MLB-best 8 so far this season.

Unlike his first two starts of the season, Edward Cabrera’s 3rd outing was met with less favorable results, as the 24-year-old lasted just 3.2 innings with 5 runs and 7 hits being charged to him in the process.

A scary sight in that 4th inning came when Cabrera appeared to sustain an injury to his left leg, though he would stay in the game.

Any hopes Miami would’ve had to overcome the Houston bat’s would be nulled following a Louis Head fastball that aforementioned Altuve took 99.9 mph and 383 feet up into the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th.

Looking Ahead

In keeping with the “circle games,” Miami will continue their road trip Monday as they head to Philadelphia to meet the surging Phillies (30-30). Fresh off his second 9 inning performance in 3 weeks, Sandy Alcantara (6-2, 1.81 ERA) will take his MLB-leading 83.2 innings to the rubber as he faces off with Aaron Nola (4-4, 3.50 ERA).

First pitch is set for 7:05 Eastern at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Of Note

  • Verlander’s start Sunday coincided with the 15th anniversary of his 1st career no-hitter. Striking out 12 Brewers in a 4-0 Tigers victory, Verlander would repeat the feat twice more, no-hitting the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 and ‘19, respectively. Coincidentally, Verlander’s win-loss record after that first no-hitter improved to 7-2, the same line he entered play with Sunday.
  • Aneurys Zabala, who joined the taxi squad amid Garrett Cooper’s undisclosed injury, would make his big league debut in the bottom of the 8th of Sunday’s contest. In 8.2 innings at AA/AAA this season, Zabala posted a 10.38 ERA.
  • During the club’s five-game winning streak, the Marlins posted the 9th best wRC+ (129) in the Majors. Their 33 runs scored in that span place them in three-way tie with Atlanta and San Diego for 2nd - trailing only the Twins who’ve scored 34 - in all of baseball, according to FanGraphs.
  • Right fielder Avisaíl García was a late scratch from Sunday’s lineup with what was reported to be a hand injury. When asked about the severity of García’s injury, manager Don Mattingly noted that the team “will monitor” the situation, and didn’t rule out the chance of sitting him in Monday’s opener in Philadelphia.