The Astros came into the game hoping for another series win. Justin Verlander had a taller order and with Abraham Toro’s help, he pitches his 3rd no-hitter.
Justin Verlander has been battling Gerritt Cole all year for the strikeout lead and in the race for the Cy Young Award. After today’s game, he might have secured that award. With at least six more starts remaining for the Astros this year, he has a realistic shot at reaching 300 K’s on the season.
Before he reached the 9th inning, he was already moving into elite territory with his 250th strikeout of the season. He became the 5th player in MLB history to record 250 K’s in a season five times. The other names on that list include Randy Johnson (9), Nolan Ryan (8), Max Scherzer (5) and Roger Clemens (5).
Not only did this put Justin Verlander in elite company, but he and Gerrit Cole became only the second pair of teammates ever with consecutive 250K seasons. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling was the other set of teammates to accomplish this back in 2001-2002.
Verlander hasn’t received the best run support at times but today all he needed was one run to come across the plate. The first opportunity came in the Top of the 2nd inning with a double by Aledmys Diaz and the Astros failed to get the run across. The game would go on and they would only get three more hits going into the top of the 9th inning.
The former Astros closer Ken Giles took the mound hoping to keep a shut out intact, especially after retiring the Astros in order on Saturday. With Alex Bregman due up and Yordan Alvarez on deck, the Astros were poised to give Justin Verlander the lead going into the bottom of the 9th.
Bregman led off with a double and then Alvarez went down swinging, bringing up Diaz who doubled earlier in the game. He would hit a ball to deep center field which allowed Bregman to tag up and get to third base. Walking up to the plate was recent Round Rock call-up Abraham Toro who started the season in AA Corpus Christi and eventually earned a spot with the Astros.
Abraham Toro was playing five hours from his childhood home and in front of many family members and friends. On a 1-1 count, he hit a fly ball to left-center field giving the Houston Astros a 2-0 lead with the 2nd home run of his career.
Justin Verlander would then take the mound in the bottom of the ninth, He retired the first two batters with a ground out and a strikeout, bringing his strikeout total to 14 for the game. Bo Bichette came to the plate. The hot rookie and recent call up is aggressive at the plate.
As Steve Sparks mentioned on the Astros radio broadcast, it almost appeared to be a father/son type of match up. The old school Verlander throwing a season-high 120 pitches vs. the young up and coming son of a former major leaguer.
Verlander would get Bichette to ground out to seal the complete game, no-hit, shut out. His last no-hitter was back in 2011 vs. Toronto in the Rogers Center. He became the 6th pitcher in MLB history with at least three no-hitters in his career, and more than likely cemented his future as a Hall of Fame inductee.
Justin Verlander’s no-hitter against the Blue Jays today occurred only 29 days after the Astros’ combined no-hitter against the Mariners. It’s the first time in franchise history the Astros have thrown two no-hitters in the same season.
Not only did Toro get the game-winning home run, but he also recorded the final out of the game. A truly special moment for the rookie. To have someone like Justin Verlander recognize such a young player as to what he helped him accomplish is a true testimony to Verlander’s greatness, not only as a pitcher but as a person as well.