Hours after Aaron Judge agreed to a one-year, $19 million deal with the Yankees to avoid salary arbitration, New York was greeted with roaring applause as it packed its park for just the third time this season.
Judge went 0-for-4 and the major league-leading Yankees (52-19) lost for just the fourth time in their last 23 games overall.
Watched by his wife Kate Upton from the front row behind home plate, Verlander (9-3) averaged 95.5 mph with his fastball, up from 94.8 mph before the game, during the season that marked his back after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The 39-year-old right-hander, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, had three strikeouts and one walk. He improved his ERA to 2.22.
Luis Severino (4-2) escaped two jams with a couple of men on board in the fourth and fifth innings. On both occasions he celebrated with shouts.
However, he suffered defeat.
For the Astros, the Venezuelan José Altuve 4-0. Cubans Yordan Álvarez 3-1 with a run scored, Yuli Gurriel 4-1, Aledmys Díaz 4-1.
For the Yankees, the Venezuelan Gleyber Torres 4-1.