MINNEAPOLIS – After two frustrating years, Astros ace Justin Verlander was uncertain about his baseball future. The two-time Cy Young Award winner played just one game combined in 2020 and 2021 and missed all of last season following Tommy John’s surgery.
Verlander is back to his old self – just like this guy with all those no-hitters.
Verlander missed his fourth no-no by five outs but still faced the minimum in eight innings, and Houston defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-0 Tuesday night for his eighth straight win.
“Possibly having the game ripped out from under you makes me appreciate being here, playing with my teammates, pitching well, all of that,” Verlander said.
The Twins’ third baseman Gio Urshela singled to right field with an eighth-field out to end Verlander’s bid. The 39-year-old right-hander finished the innings by tricking Royce Lewis to land in a doubles game in his first season after Tommy John’s surgery.
Verlander vied to tie Sandy Koufax for second place on the career no-hitter list. Nolan Ryan holds the record with seven.
“Unfortunately I have been here many times and it happened to me. I had a couple of heartbreaks in the ninth inning,” Verlander said. “I think it’s just one of those that you appreciate that it was a good game and gave us a chance to win and we did.”
Tuesday’s outing put Verlander up 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA through six starts to continue his excellent start to the 2022 season.
“The guy’s a horse,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “When he hits the boys stay alert. He gets the ball fast. He’s not messing around on the mound, so you keep the defense sharp when you do that.”
Verlander hit five and walked two for 89 pitches. Blake Taylor threw the ninth for Houston.
Baker said Verlander had a 90-pitch limit, but added that if Verlander had gone eight no-hit innings, they might have rolled over.
Verlander was perfect in four innings before allowing Jorge Polanco a leadoff walk in the fifth. Verlander got Urshela to double play a pitch later to withdraw Polanco.
The right-hander went into sixth with Gilberto Celestino, Minnesota’s No. 9 hitter, but Celestino was later knocked out by catcher Martín Maldonado on second base — one of several solid defensive plays that underpinned Verlander’s performance.
“The no-hitter was kind of deep in the game and he could make a great play, turn and knock the guy out for second when he was trying to move forward,” Verlander said of Maldonado. “Really, his job behind the plate was fantastic.”
Jeremy Peña drove for the Astros in the first two heats. Alex Bregman also had two RBIs, including a double to the left in the fifth that drove into Jose Altuve.
Twins starter Joe Ryan (3-2) struggled to find the strike zone. The right-hander gave up a walk in each of his five innings and allowed four runs.
ASTROS AVOID CORREA
Houston players caught up with former teammate Carlos Correa, who signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal with Minnesota this spring after seven seasons with the Astros.
Correa was added to the 10-day injured list on Tuesday with a bruised right middle finger retroactive to May 6. He won’t play in the series against Houston. He’s hitting .255 with 11 RBIs in 24 games.
“I was really looking forward to it,” said Correa. “I’m really looking forward to seeing them again and spending some time with them. They weren’t teammates. They were family.”
Gemini: INF Luis Arraez and RHP Dylan Bundy both cleared COVID-19 logs but were inactive for Tuesday’s game as they remained on the COVID-19 injured list. … LHP Danny Coloumbe walked out of Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning with a left hip infection.
RHP Jose Urquidy (2-1, 4.56 ERA) takes the mound for Houston, a start after throwing six scoreless innings against Detroit. Minnesota countered with RHP Chris Archer (0-0), who is still waiting for his first win in the Twins jersey.
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https://www.local10.com/sports/2022/05/11/verlander-loses-no-hitter-in-8th-astros-beat-twins-5-0/ Verlander loses in 8th place no-hitter, Astros defeats Twins 5-0