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Astros dominate Rays despite Justin Verlander ejection

By Alex Butler
1/7
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (L) allowed four hits and had four strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/6906ffe4c98f242e1bf28be10589be27/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (L) allowed four hits and had four strikeouts in 5.1 scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Houston Astros star Justin Verlander watched his double-digit strikeout streak come to an end before being ejected during a dominating victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Verlander was booted during the sixth inning of the 15-1 win Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. He allowed four hits and had four strikeouts in 5.1 innings before being shown the clubhouse door. Verlander is now 16-5 with an American League-leading 2.69 ERA. He also leads baseball with 184 innings pitched and 243 strikeouts.

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The eight-time All-Star was ejected for arguing about strikes and balls with home-plate umpire Pat Hoberg.

"I didn't really think it was warranted," Verlander said. "As an umpire, I think Pat needs to understand this is an emotional game, and sometimes when things don't go your way, you let the umpire know it. I thought I did it in about as respectful a way as I could where my emotions were at.

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"As the play was developing, I told him I thought it was a strike. He told me it was a ball. That went on back and forth for a little bit, and I turned my back and expressed one more time I didn't think it was outside."

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Verlander said he could have had better language when he addressed Hoberg. He said he never called Hoberg a name or "said anything egregious" toward the umpire.

The Astros built a massive lead before Verlander's ejection. Josh Reddick drew first blood with an RBI double in the third inning. Jose Altuve brought in Robinson Chirinos with a sacrifice fly in the same inning for a 2-0 lead.

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Yuli Gurriel gave Houston a 4-0 lead with a two-run double in the fourth frame. Chirinos made the score 6-0 with a two-run homer in the same inning. Yordan Alvarez hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning for a 9-0 advantage.

Houston added five runs in the sixth frame, following Verlander's ejection.

Joey Wendle homered for the Rays' only run of the game in the top of the seventh inning. Alvarez returned to the plate in the seventh inning and gave the Astros a 15-1 lead with his 21st home run of the season.

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Alvarez went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, three runs scored and two strikeouts in the win. Josh Reddick and Alex Bregman also recorded three hits apiece for the Astros. Every player in the Astros batting order had a hit in the victory.

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Houston hosts Tampa Bay at 8:10 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

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