Justin Verlander is trying to pitch the Tigers over the Athletics in the American League Division Series in Game 5 in Oakland for a second straight year, and is doing so in nearly historic fashion. The Detroit ace had a no-hitter until Yoenis Cespedes singled with two outs in the seventh inning on Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.
The Tigers lead the Athletics 3-0 through seven innings, six outs away from advancing to face the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
There have only been two no-hitters in MLB postseason history. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers, and Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter for the Phillies in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Reds.
Verlander retired the first 15 batters of the game until a leadoff walk by Josh Reddick in the sixth inning broke up the perfect game.
Through seven innings, Verlander has eight strikeouts, one walk and one hit allowed. Verlander, who pitched a four-hit shutout to eliminate the A's in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS, pitched seven scoreless innings in a no-decision in Game 2 of this series on Saturday, also in Oakland.
In four playoff starts against the A's in the last two seasons, Verlander has allowed one total run and 12 hits in 30 innings, with 41 strikeouts.
Dating back to Sept. 18, Verlander has a streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings.
Verlander is hardly a stranger to no-hitters in his career, having thrown two. He no-hit the Brewers on June 12, 2007 in Detroit, and no-hit the Blue Jays on May 7, 2011 in Toronto. Only five pitchers have thrown three career no-hitters in baseball history: Nolan Ryan (seven), Sandy Koufax (four), Bob Feller, Cy Young and Larry Corcoran.