Astros RHP Verlander departs with right calf discomfort

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 16: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros reacts against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 16, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (Michael Reaves, 2022 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Astros ace Justin Verlander left Sunday’s game against Baltimore after three scoreless innings because of right calf discomfort.

The right-hander, a leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.84. He allowed three hits and struck out six.

The 39-year-old Verlander had Tommy John surgery in 2020 and missed all of last season. Entering Sunday's matchup with the Orioles, he was 8-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Verlander threw 60 pitches, including 39 for strikes. He allowed consecutive singles to Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman in the first, and then struck out the next three batters.

He was replaced by Seth Martinez in the fourth with the game scoreless.

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