By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched four-hit ball over seven innings, Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer and the Houston Astros beat the Yankees 3-1 Friday night to stop New York’s 15-game home winning streak.
Hours after Aaron Judge agreed to a $19 million, one-year contract with the Yankees that avoided an arbitration hearing, New York was greeted with loud ovations by just its third home sellout crowd this season. Judge went 0 for 4 as the major league-best Yankees (52-19) lost for just the fourth time in their last 23 games overall.
With wife Kate Upton watching from a first-row seat behind the plate, Verlander (9-3) averaged 95.5 mph with his fastball, up from 94.8 mph coming in during his first season since Tommy John surgery. The 39-year-old right-hander, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, struck out three and walked one, lowering his ERA to 2.22.
New York got its run in the sixth when Giancarlo Stanton hit an opposite-field drive into the right field second deck for the second night in a row, his 16th home run this season.
Phil Maton pitched out of trouble in the eighth, striking out Judge on a curveball with one on, and Stanton and Josh Donaldson, both on sliders, to strand two runners.
Rafael Montero, pitching for a third straight day for the first time this season, walked Aaron Hicks with one out and pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter with two outs. Montero retired DJ LeMahieu on a groundout for his fifth save.
Luis Severino (4-2) escaped two-on jams in the fourth and fifth — shouting demonstrably both times — then allowed Alex Bregman’s one-out double in the sixth. Pitching carefully, Severino walked Yordan Alvarez and threw a first-pitch fastball that Tucker drove into the right-field seats for his 14th home run this year.
Donaldson got into a verbal confrontation with another opponent after he didn’t run hard out of the box on his second-inning double that hopped the right-center wall and flipped his bat into catcher Jason Castro. At the end of the inning, Donaldson cupped a hand to an ear while looking at the Astros dugout, then shrugged shoulders.
Donaldson referred to White Sox star Tim Anderson as “Jackie” on May 21 — a reference to Jackie Robinson — earning the third baseman a one-game suspension.
Hicks, moved to left field from center for much of this season, made a leaping, sprawling backhand catch in the left-field corner to rob Jose Altuve of an extra-base hit leading off the fourth. In the middle of the infield, Severino raised both arms and screamed.
Jake Meyers started in center and went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts from the No. 9 slot in his first major league action since Game 4 of last year’s AL Division Series against the Chicago White Sox, when he injured his left shoulder Meyers hit .250 with three homers and four RBIs during a 14-game injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Sugar Land.
Astros: To make room for Meyers, outfielder Jose Siri was optioned to Sugar Land and outfielder Dillon Thomas was designated for assignment. … RHP Jake Ordorizzi to Sugar Land (PCL) on a rehab assignment. … SS Jeremy Peña, sidelined since June 13 by an injured left thumb, could be actvated Saturday.
Yankees: LHP Aroldis Chapman (left Achilles tendinitis) struck out one in an eight-pitch seventh inning for Double-A Somerset, his first game action since May 22.
RHP Gerritt Cole (6-1, 3.14) starts for the Yankees on Saturday after taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning at Tampa Bay. RHP Cristian Javier (4-3, 3.07) starts for the Astros.
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