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Astros ace Justin Verlander no-hits Blue Jays

By Alex Butler
Astros ace Justin Verlander no-hits Blue Jays
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander is 17-5 with a 2.56 ERA this season after tossing his third career no-hitter in a win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday in Toronto. File Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander needed 120 pitches to toss his third career no-hitter in a dominant showing against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 36-year-old ace had 14 strikeouts in the 2-0 win Sunday at Rodgers Center in Toronto. Verlander's 2011 no-hitter also came at Rodgers Center, making him the first pitcher in MLB history to throw two no-hitters at the same ball park. Verlander also threw a no-hitter in 2007.

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His previous two no-hitters occurred when he was a member of the Detroit Tigers.

"I've been so close to the third one so many times," Verlander told AT&T SportsNet in his postgame interview. "It just didn't happen. Tonight, Abraham Toro comes up with a huge homer.

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"It's only fitting he was able to come up with the last out."

Verlander began the game by striking out Bo Bichette. He walked Cavan Biggio in the next at-bat, issuing his only free pass of the game and making himself ineligible for a perfect game. Verlander then began a streak of retiring 26 consecutive batters.

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Astros third baseman Abraham Toro delivered the only runs of the game with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning.

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Verlander completed the no-hitter by forcing Bichette into a ground out. Bichette hit the ball toward third base, where Toro was defending. Toro fielded the ball and tossed it to first baseman Aledmys Diaz for the final out of the game. Verlander was mobbed by his teammates on the pitcher's mound after completing the no-hitter.

Verlander is just the sixth pitcher to throw at least three no-hitters. Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax and Cy Young are also in that exclusive club. The Astros ace already led the American League in ERA before the start, but lowered that ERA from 2.69 to 2.56 with the no-hitter. Verlander is also 17-5 on the season.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't know the list of guys that have thrown three instead of two gets pretty small. [They are] some of the guys I idolize. It's a special moment. I'm so happy to be able to celebrate this with my teammates."

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The Astros battle the Milwaukee Brewers at 4:10 p.m. EDT Monday at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

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