Using a fastball regularly clocked at 100 MPH and above, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon. It was the second no-hitter this week, following Francisco Liriano's effort on Tuesday, and Verlander became the 26th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw more than one no-hitter in his career. Behind the historic pitching performance, the Tigers defeated the Blue Jays, 9-0.
Despite the blistering fastball and fine command, Verlander's chief weapon was getting quick outs in the field rather than racking up a gaudy strikeout total. His highest pitch count in any inning was 16, and that included a 12-pitch walk to J.P. Arencibia that was quickly erased by an Edwin Encarnacion double play. The start was only the 57th out of 173 starts in Verlander's career in which he recorded four strikeouts or fewer -- a sharp contrast to his previous no-hitter, a 12-strikeout performance against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers' right-hander threw 108 pitches in the game.
There were a couple of late challenges to Verlander's bid. In the bottom of the eighth, Mike McCoy lined a shot to center field, but it was right at Austin Jackson, who barely had to move to record the out. Moments later, Arencibia lined a shot just foul down the left-field line before working the walk that spoiled Verlander's bid for a perfect game.
David Cooper led off the ninth with a one-pitch out, popping up to second. Jason McDonald followed with a grounder to second base just past a diving Verlander's glove, and Rajai Davis ended the game by striking out on a nasty slider.