PHILADELPHIA – Phillies fans had to hand it to Justin Verlander: they gave the Astros ace a thumbs-up a day after he showed them he was No. 1.
On Monday, a video clip of the Houston pitcher flipping his middle finger at a small group of Philadelphia rooters — kiddingly, he said — outside the players' entrance at Citizens Bank Park drew plenty of attention on social media.
Before Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday, Verlander was all smiles as he walked over to fans, including one wearing a Roy Halladay jersey, in the same spot and signed autographs.
“You're the best!” one of them shouted.
A woman wearing a Phillies shirt joked with Verlander as he signed her baseball. They then posed for a picture, with both flashing their middle fingers.
“Let's do a thumbs-up,” she suggested, and they flipped they script to take that picture.
On Tuesday night, hours after the video clip made the rounds, Verlander tweeted that he meant no harm.
“Whole interaction was in jest as all the fans around you were just saying hello in their native tongue,” Verlander posted on Twitter. “So I responded in kind ... all in good fun. I enjoyed the banter.”
Verlander is 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight World Series starts.
He got a no-decision in Game 1 against the Phillies when he couldn't hold an early 5-0 lead.
Verlander is expected to start Game 5 at Philadelphia.
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