Justin Verlander was likely already going into the Hall of Fame before Sunday’s game in Toronto. The only question that remains now is which cap will he wear to the induction ceremony?
Verlander hurled the third no-hitter of his illustrious career, and his second in Toronto, to become the sixth pitcher in Major League history to throw three or more no-no’s.
1 of only 6 pitchers to throw 3 or more no-hitters! pic.twitter.com/hzhtQm0wNg— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) September 1, 2019
Verlander induced a groundout from Brandon Drury and struck out Reese McGuire for the first two outs of the ninth, which brought up Blue Jays’ rookie phenom Bo Bichette. After working the count full, Bichette hit a grounder to third baseman Abraham Toro to seal the deal.
Verlander, who no-hit the Blue Jays eight years ago in Toronto, became the first player to throw two no-hitters as an opponent in the same stadium.
And he also became just the third pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters against the same team.
Pitchers with multiple no-hitters against the same team:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) September 1, 2019
Justin Verlander vs Blue Jays**
Tim Lincecum vs Padres
Addie Joss vs White Sox
**Only pitcher w/2 no-hitters vs same team *on road*
But who knows how things would’ve ended, or if Verlander would’ve even started the ninth, if not for the heroics of Toro in the top half of the inning?
The Astros only had three hits through eight innings and the game was still scoreless with two outs in the ninth. That’s when Toro, a Canadian native, clubbed a huge two-run blast to the opposite field off former Astro Ken Giles to plate the only runs of the game.
The home run was the second of Toro’s career and certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the Astros’ ace and surefire HOFer.
“Where the f--- is Toro!”— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 1, 2019
In the middle of celebrating his third no-hitter, Justin Verlander sought out rookie third baseman Abraham Toro, whose ninth-inning home run broke a scoreless tie and allowed Verlander to complete the no-hitter. Toro also got an assist on the final out. pic.twitter.com/6r6oRbx9Uj
It seemed only fitting that Toro—who was a late insertion into starting lineup due to lingering soreness for Yuli Gurriel a day after being hit by a pitch—was there to record the final out on a historic day.
The performance by Verlander was exceptional beyond the realms of being a no-hitter.
That’s a 100 Game Score for Verlander, too. More rare than a no-hitter.— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) September 1, 2019
He recorded the 15th Game Score of 100+ ever, and the first since Gerrit Cole’s one-hitter in which he struck out 16 against Arizona last year (credit to TCB’s own Theo Gerome for the great find).
If not for a one-out walk issued to Cavan Biggio in the first inning, Verlander may have had a perfect game to add to his ledger. As things stand, Verlander retired 26 straight Blue Jays to culminate the no-no in epic fashion.
That’s the third no-hitter of Justin Verlander’s no-doubt Hall of Fame career. Nine innings, one walk, 14 strikeouts, 120 pitches. Toronto was helpless.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 1, 2019
At 36, Verlander remains every bit as dominant as he was in his 20s. He is a marvel, and this one was truly marvelous.
Verlander’s no-hitter was the club’s second of the season and 13th in franchise history, tied with Oakland and Philadelphia for the ninth-most all-time. Verlander had at least one punchout in every inning and he struck out the side in the eighth, including this nasty breaking ball to Billy McKinney to end the frame.
Justin Verlander, Beautiful 80mph Curveball (Slow). pic.twitter.com/8rQclVgJHo— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 1, 2019
Verlander’s 14 strikeouts pushed his season total to 257, back atop the American League and five ahead of Cole. The duo became the second pair of teammates to post back-to-back seasons of 250+ strikeouts apiece.
Verlander also became just the fifth player in MLB history to record 250+ strikeouts in a season five times in his career. He entered Sunday with a .172 BAA, 0.80 WHIP, and 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings—all tops in the American League—and ended it with the AL’s lowest ERA as well (2.56), which certainly furthers his candidacy to win a second Cy Young award.
The Blue Jays used four pitchers in the game and only allowed five hits in all.
Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-out single in the eighth.
Box score and videos here.
The Astros will travel to Milwaukee to open a two-game set with the Brewers that begins tomorrow when Cole (15-5, 2.85) goes to work on Labor Day. Cole ranks second in the Majors in strikeouts (252) and second in the AL (behind only Verlander) in ERA, WHIP (0.96) and Hits allowed per nine innings (6.45). In his last start, Cole struck out 14 and allowed four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday. He established a new franchise mark with his 15th double-digit strikeout game of the season, surpassing J.R. Richard’s previous club standard. Cole is 3-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 career starts against the Brewers and 1-3 with a 5.19 ERA and 34 2/3 innings lifetime at Miller Park. Adrian Houser (6-5, 3.52) gets the start for the Brewers after leaving his last start early due to left hip discomfort. He lasted five innings and threw 74 pitches in that outing, surrendering just one run on four hits against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. Since rejoining the Milwaukee rotation at the end of July, Houser has posted a 2.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and struck out 33 batters in 33 1/3 innings over six starts. It will be Houser’s first start against Houston, though he did earn a win in relief in the lone outing of his career against the Astros. Houser is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 games and 45 career innings at Miller Park. First pitch Monday is slated for 3:00 CT.