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Justin Verlander Addresses Monday Afternoon's Viral Photo

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander delivers a pitch during a team workout.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 19: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches during an intrasquad game as they continue with Summer Workouts at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander went viral for throwing up the middle finger at Phillies fans after the Astros' team bus arrived at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon.

Verlander was smiling in the picture, and when a Philadelphia fan tried to give him some grief for the gesture on Twitter, the nine-time All-Star had his response ready.

"All the context Darren… Whole interaction was in jest as all the fans around you were just saying hello in their native tongue," Verlander explained. "So I responded in kind. all in good fun. I enjoyed the banter. Also, nobody broke the window. Was just like that."

Verlander has been playing in the majors for nearly two decades. He knows how to handle hostile fans, and it seemed clear he was just having a good time throwing it back at the Philly faithful.

Verlander was scheduled to pitch in Philadelphia in Game 5, but we'll see if he is moved up to start Game 4 because of tonight's rainout.

Whenever he throws again, he'll be looking to avenge his Game 1 performance, when the 39-year-old flamethrower surrendered a five-run lead in the Phillies' 6-5 extra-inning win.