Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays on Sunday, allowing just one walk and retiring the final 26 batters in order. He becomes just the fifth pitcher since 1893 with three no-hit games, joining Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3) and Cy Young (3). More on Verlander’s gem is after the jump.
Verlander’s gem encompassed 120 pitches, 79 thrown for strikes. Fourteen Blue Jays were retired by strikeout as Verlander reached 250 K’s for the season, joining Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Max Scherzer and Roger Clemens with his fifth such campaign. Verlander struck out at least one batter in every inning, and struck out the side in the eighth frame (his 14 K’s were one fewer than his career high set this past June in just 7 innings against the Brewers). Verlander also had to deal with the stress of pitching in a scoreless game for eight innings; Houston finally broke through in the 9th on a 2-run home run by the unlikely named Abraham Toro, playing only his 8th career game and, a Canadian native, doing so in front of friends and family in Toronto (Toro also got to close out the game by fielding the 27th out).
Verlander joins Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, Randy Johnson, Hideo Nomo, and Mike Fiers in pitching a no-hit game for more than one franchise. This was Verlander’s second no-hitter against Toronto, becoming only the third pitcher to no-hit the same team twice; Tim Lincecum‘s two no-nos both came against the Padres, while Addie Joss twice victimized the White Sox. Both of Verlander’s no-nos against the Blue Jays were pitched in Toronto, as he becomes the 8th pitcher with two no-hitters away from home. This was only Verlander’s 14th game pitched against Toronto; when he doesn’t no-hit them he hasn’t fared well, going 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA at Rogers Centre and 1-5, 5.68 at home.
This no-hitter comes eight seasons after Verlander’s last gem, also against Toronto on May 7, 2011. That’s the second longest spell between no-hit games, trailing only the 9 seasons between Nolan Ryan’s 5th and 6th no-hitters. Of 231 no-hit games since 1908, this was the 50th recorded in September, more than any other month. This was the second no-hitter this season (excl. team no-hitters), but only the sixth over the past four seasons, one of the lower totals for a four year period. In contrast, the four prior seasons (2012-15) saw no fewer than 20 no-hit games, the most in any four-year span.
Verlander becomes the 10th Astro pitcher with a no-hit game, the most for any expansion franchise. The Astros also have two team no-hitters, the second coming just last month against Seattle. For Toronto, it’s their 6th time to be no-hit, four of them coming at home at the Rogers Centre/Skydome. Only two other ballparks have seen as many no-hit games by a visitor: Tiger Stadium (6) and Fenway Park (4).