Verlander retired his first five batters with three strikeouts before walking Yonder Alonso with two outs in the second. But he got right back on track, sitting down Tim Anderson to end the inning.
Verlander needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side in the third inning and fanned two in the fourth. He struck out one in the fifth and one more in the sixth after a long layoff after the Astros sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth.
Yoán Moncada struck out to start the seventh before Abreu sent the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in straightaway center field for Chicago's first hit.
Houston leads 5-1.
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