Verlander (9-6) produced his best start since rejoining the Astros at the trade deadline, allowing five hits and issuing only one walk while producing a season-high nine strikeouts.
The Red Sox managed traffic every inning against Verlander excluding the third, when he struck out Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers and Justin Turner. Verlander stranded Trevor Story in scoring position in the second inning, Masataka Yoshida in the fourth and Connor Wong in the fifth before leaving the bases loaded in the sixth when he induced a popout to shortstop from Luis Urias.
After stranding 11 baserunners while finishing 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position while losing 9-4 in the series opener on Monday, the Red Sox started 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday before Turner stroked a two-run single in the ninth off Astros reliever Rafael Montero.
Boston’s Adam Duvall homered for the second day in a row when he led off the eighth with his 13th long ball, a 362-foot shot to left off Astros reliever Ryne Stanek.
Tucker provided Verlander an early cushion with his 25th home run, a two-run blast to right off Boston starter Tanner Houck (3-7). The Astros extended to a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Mauricio Dubon scored from second base on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado.
Houck made his first start since June 16, when he sustained a facial fracture after being hit by a line drive under the right eye against the New York Yankees. He was solid in his return to the rotation, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts over five innings.
The Astros blew the game open with four runs in the seventh. Yainer Diaz hit an RBI single, Chas McCormick drove in a run with a fielder’s-choice grounder, and Jon Singleton added his second double in as many at-bats, knocking in two for a 7-0 lead.
Verdugo was ejected by plate umpire Pat Hoberg in the fourth for arguing balls and strikes. Boston manager Alex Cora experienced the same fate in the eighth.
—Field Level Media
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