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Justin Verlander Upset with Tim Anderson for Celebrating Steal Attempt

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2018

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 20, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander took exception Friday to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson's actions during the fifth inning of Houston's 10-0 win.

Anderson broke up Verlander's no-hitter with one out in the fifth and celebrated upon reaching first base with a single.

He then attempted to steal second base on a 3-0 count, and after reaching second when Verlander walked Omar Narvaez, he celebrated again.

Verlander wasn't happy with Anderson's exuberance, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle:

"He steals on 3-0 in a 5-0 game, that's probably not great baseball. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, I don't know. But he celebrated that, though. And it's like 'Hey, I'm not worried about you right now. It's 5-0, I'm giving a high leg kick, I know you can steal. If I don't want you to steal, I'll be a little bit more aware of you. But I'm trying to get this guy out at the plate.'"

Verlander got the win in Friday's contest after allowing two hits, three walks and no runs in six innings.

While Verlander didn't like Anderson's antics on the basepaths, he said he didn't have a problem with Anderson's celebrating initially after getting the hit: "I wasn't upset with him being excited about getting a hit. Hey, that's baseball and you can be excited about getting a hit; he earned it."

Later in the inning, the White Sox attempted to execute a double steal, but Verlander forced Anderson back to second base with a pickoff move, and Narvaez was tagged out.

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That led to a verbal exchange between Verlander and Anderson, which the veteran righty later explained:

"Very thankful that he gave me an out. That's what I said, and he didn't like that comment but, hey, that's not my fault; that's his fault. I'm not going to let the situation dictate what I do out there, I'm going to slow everything down, and that's what veterans can do—see the game, play the game, play the game the right way."

Verlander made it clear after the contest that he wasn't a fan of the way Anderson was playing, noting that he "took offense" to it.

The 24-year-old Anderson is in the midst of his third MLB season, and he said after the game that the fifth-inning incident was "not relevant."

Verlander, 35, is a six-time All-Star, one-time American League Cy Young Award winner and one-time American League MVP.

He boasts a 3-0 record with a 1.10 ERA in his 14th season and has helped the reigning World Series champion Astros to a 14-7 start, which is tops in the AL West.

At 4-12, the White Sox are fourth in the AL Central.

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