Justin Verlander shakes off All-Star drubbing with near-shutout

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Justin Verlander pitched three-hit ball over eight scoreless innings Sunday as the Tigers topped the Orioles 4-0.

It was Verlander’s first start since he gave up five runs in an inning in losing Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the American League.

Verlander struck out eight and walked two. He’s second in the AL with 136 strikeouts, four behind Felix Hernandez. Jose Valverde pitched the final inning today with Verlander at 117 pitches after eight.

Verlander was just 5-4 after 13 outings this season, but now he’s now reeled off five wins in six starts — even though he hasn’t lowered his ERA much in the process — he should be right back among the Cy Young leaders in the AL.

With the win today, Verlander is 7-0 lifetime in 10 career starts against the Orioles.

Astros Extend Jeff Luhnow Through 2023

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The Astros have agreed to a contract extension with Jeff Luhnow through 2023. They’ve also given him a promotion. Or, at the very least, a new title, as he is now president of baseball operations as well as GM.

Luhnow, who was hired following the 2011 season, quite obviously built the Astros from a 100+ loss train wreck into the World Series champions. They are a top contender for that title once again in 2018. That the Astros would even think about shaking him loose any time soon was a fantasy, so this move should be considered a formality.