Justin Verlander dominates as Astros blank Twins
The base hit kept Verlander from recording his fourth career no-hitter, which would’ve tied Sandy Koufax for the second-most no-hitters in MLB history
Houston’s Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Target Field on Tuesday as the Minnesota Twins lost to the Astros 5-0.
Verlander did not allow a base runner until a Jorge Polanco walk in the fifth inning, and it took until Gio Urshela singled to right field in the eighth for the Twins to muster a hit.
The base hit kept Verlander from recording his fourth career no-hitter, which would’ve tied Sandy Koufax for the second-most no-hitters in MLB history. Nolan Ryan owns the record with seven career no-hitters. Verlander’s last no-hitter came on Sept. 1, 2019 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It also kept Minnesota from being no-hit for the sixth time in franchise history. Jered Weaver was the last to do it, no-hitting the Twins on May 2, 2012 with the Los Angeles Angels — 10 years ago this month.
Despite Urshela’s hit and walks in the fifth and sixth inning, Verlander faced the minimum number of batters in his eight innings of work.
After Jorge Polanco broke up the perfect game with a walk in the fifth, Verlander quickly turned a double play. Gilberto Celestino’s walk in the sixth was promptly erased when Celestino attempted to steal second base after a pitch got away from Martin Maldonando, but Maldonando recovered and his throw beat Celestino to the bag.
Then, when the no-hitter was finally broken up by Urshela in the eighth, Verlander got his final two outs of the night with another double play ground ball.
Verlander threw 89 pitches over eight innings and struck out five. He did not allow a runner to reach second base.
The Twins added two more hits in the ninth inning – a pair of infield singles by Alex Kiriloff and Celestino, but could not push a run across.
Meanwhile, Minnesota starter Joe Ryan struggled. He walked a career-high five batters and lasted just 4.1 innings, his second-shortest outing of his career. Ryan walked a batter every inning, and two of the batters he walked would later come around to score. He finished with four earned runs and three strikeouts.
The Astros struck first in the second inning as Jeremy Pena singled home Yuri Guerriel, who reached base on a single, and advanced to third thanks to a walk and a ground ball. Another Pena single in the fourth inning scored Kyle Tucker, who reached base with a walk.
Houston added a pair of runs in the fourth inning, first with an Alex Bregman double and then with a Yordan Alvarez sacrifice fly. Another sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave the Astros their fifth and final run.
Tuesday marks the second time this season that the Twins were nearly no-hit at home. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a perfect game going through seven innings last month before he was pulled from the game. Gary Sanchez would go on to break up the perfect game with the Twins’ first and only hit.