Justin Verlander’s first career relief outing did not go as planned.
The Houston Astros led the Boston Red Sox by one run in the fifth inning of Monday’s American League Division Series Game 4 when manager A.J. Hinch opted to pull starter Charlie Morton in favor of Verlander, who had yet to come out of the bullpen in 402 major league appearances.
And on Verlander’s very first batter, Andrew Benintendi gave the Astros ace a rude welcome.
Benintendi smashed a two-run homer to right field that plated Xander Bogaerts and gave the Red Sox a one-run lead.
It was Boston’s second homer of the game and fourth in its last two matchups, as Bogaerts launched a solo shot in the first inning to put the Red Sox on the board.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images