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Astros' Verlander tosses one-hitter in front of his idol

by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | May 22, 2019 at 2:30 a.m.
Oakland Athletics' Mark Canha (20) is congratulated by Matt Olson after Canha hit a two-run home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the third inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Cleveland. Olson scored on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

ASTROS 5, WHITE SOX 1

HOUSTON -- As Houston's Justin Verlander flirted with a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox, he took a moment to scan the seats behind home plate to see whether childhood idol Nolan Ryan, who threw a record seven no-hitters, was watching from his usual seat behind the plate.

After throwing two no-hitters in his career, Verlander thought to himself that it would be "pretty cool" if Ryan was there to see it if he joined him in the exclusive group of players who have at least three.

Ryan was at the game, but it wasn't to be.

"I screwed it up," Verlander said with a laugh.

Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a season-high 12 to lead the Astros to a 5-1 victory over the White Sox.

Verlander (8-1), who said his slider was his best pitch Tuesday night, was in control from the first pitch, allowing 1 hit and walking 1 in 8 innings for his fourth consecutive victory and the seventh in eight starts. The only hit off him came when Jose Abreu sent the first pitch of his at-bat just over the wall and out of reach of a leaping Jake Marisnick in straightaway center field with one out in the seventh to cut the lead to 5-1.

"My thought was, 'If Jake catches this, it's over. I'm going to get it,' " Verlander said. "Sure enough it went over. He had a great effort at it [but] I was pretty confident that that ball was going to be a home run unless a miracle happened."

It was Abreu's sixth career home run against Verlander.

"We all know the kind of pitcher that he is," Abreu said in Spanish through a translator. "He has all of my respect. He's one of the best. In that at-bat, I just went in there trying to make hard contact if possible. I am happy that I was able to do it."

Yuli Gurriel hit a home run off Dylan Covey (0-3) in the fourth inning to give the Astros home runs in 18 consecutive games, tying the second-longest streak in franchise history.

Verlander, who threw no-hitters in 2007 and 2011, retired his first five batters with three strikeouts before walking Yonder Alonso with two outs in the second. But he got right back on track, sitting down Tim Anderson to end the inning.

He needed 11 pitches to strike out the side in the third inning and had two strikeouts in the fourth. He struck out one in the fifth and one more in the sixth after a long layoff after the Astros sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of their four-run fifth.

Yoan Moncada struck out to start the seventh before Abreu's home run. Verlander received a hearty ovation after ending his night with a perfect eighth before Hector Rondon took over for the ninth and finished the one-hitter.

ATHLETICS 5, INDIANS 3 Pinch-hitter Mark Canha's two-run home run off struggling Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer in the third inning sent visiting Oakland past Cleveland. Canha replaced injured slugger Khris Davis and connected off Bauer (4-3), who managed to hang around for six innings despite early wildness.

YANKEES 11, ORIOLES 4 Clint Frazier homered twice and had a career-high five RBI, Gary Sanchez contributed a three-run home run and visiting New York beat Baltimore

BLUE JAYS 10, RED SOX 3 Rowdy Tellez had two home runs and five RBI, and Randal Grichuk also homered as the host Toronto beat Boston. Toronto won for just the fifth time against Boston at Rogers Centre since the start of the 2017 season.

RANGERS 5, MARINERS 3 Lance Lynn allowed two runs over seven innings and Shawn Kelley earned the save as host Texas beat Seattle. The loss continued a tailspin for Seattle, which is 10-26 since a 13-2 start.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

ROCKIES 5, PIRATES 0 German Marquez struck out seven over eight innings, Trevor Story hit his 11th home run and visiting Colorado defeated Pittsburgh Marquez (5-2) gave up 3 hits, walked 1 and didn't allow a runner to third base as visiting Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak.

CUBS 3, PHILLIES 2 Pinch-hitter Javier Baez's single capped a two-run, ninth-inning rally and lifted host Chicago over Philadelphia to stop the Phillies' four-game winning streak.

METS 6, NATIONALS 5 Pete Alonso hit a long tying home run in the eighth inning, Amed Rosario had a winning infield single with two outs in the ninth and host New York rallied from deficits three times to beat Washington.

REDS 3, BREWERS 0 Sonny Gray and three Cincinnati relievers held down host Milwaukee, which was missing Christian Yelich because of back spasms. It was the major league-leading seventh shutout for the Reds as the Brewers were blanked for the first time this season.

INTERLEAGUE

DODGERS 7, RAYS 3 Clayton Kershaw (4-0) took a shutout into the seventh inning in his first start at Tropicana Field and visiting Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay. The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner allowed 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk and had 8 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

MARLINS 5, TIGERS 4 (11) Chad Wallach hit a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning, and visiting Miami beat Detroit 5-4 after the Tigers tied it in a wild bottom of the ninth. Detroit forced extra innings by scoring two unearned runs off Miami closer Sergio Romo. The bottom of the ninth included an error, two replay reversals and the ejection of Tigers Manager Ron Gardenhire.

Sports on 05/22/2019

Print Headline: Astros' Verlander tosses one-hitter in front of his idol

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