Astros: Justin Verlander reaches milestone in second start back

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

At 39-years-old, Justin Verlander masterfully pieced together eight innings of work on 89 pitches, allowing no runs and only three hits. The Houston Astros‘ starting pitcher punched out eight in the process of a start that etched his name into another record book.

After missing two seasons, Verlander finally eclipsed 3,000 career innings, passing the feat in Saturday’s contest against the Seattle Mariners. While returning from Tommy John surgery, the righty may be on inning or pitch restrictions, but that didn’t stop himself from looking like the Cy Young winner he was two seasons ago.

In his second start back from Tommy John surgery, Astros starter Justin Verlander reached 3,000 innings in an outing for the ages.

Verlander is now in a group of 138 pitchers that have pitched at least 3,000 innings in their respective careers. Of active major-league pitchers, only one other starter has 3,000 innings — Zack Greinke.

The former Astros starter and now Kansas City Royal, Greinke sits at 3,121 innings pitched in a season that could be his last. For Verlander, his last season pitching for the Astros, prior to this this past week, was one with infielder Abraham Toro.

Toro, now a Mariner, faced Verlander three times, conceding to three outs. The matchup could only make some Astros fans reminisce to Verlander’s most-recent no-hitter in 2019, when he yelled, “where the f— is Toro?”

The player of the game joined select company, being the first pitcher since Greg Maddux in 1997 to throw eight or more innings with eight or more strikeouts under 90 pitches. Verlander also become the 17th pitcher to ever reach 3,000 innings and 3,000 strikeouts.

Verlander received all the hugs and handshakes he could afford, heading to the dugout after the eighth inning. Reliever Hector Neris entered play in the ninth, sealing a 4-0 win on 15 pitches in leu of the injured Ryan Pressly.

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The Astros wrap up their three-game set with the Mariners at 3:10 p.m. Sunday in Seattle, before heading back to Houston to face the Los Angeles Angels for the club’s home opener. Jose Urquidy is slated for his second start of the year against right-hander Matt Brash.