Justin Verlander cemented his status as the American League Cy Young Award favorite by twirling five no-hit innings in his final regular-season start to lead the Houston Astros to a 10-0 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
Verlander, Hunter Brown and Hector Neris combined to no-hit the Phillies for eight innings before Garrett Stubbs led off the ninth with a sharp single to center off Will Smith.
Verlander (18-4), the AL Cy Young winner in 2011 and 2019 and a three-time runner-up, dominated the Phillies (87-74) while carrying a perfect game into the fifth inning and recording double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season. He closed the campaign with a 1.75 ERA, the lowest by a qualified AL starter since Pedro Martinez (1.74 ERA) with the Boston Red Sox in 2000.
Verlander was in control from the outset, posting eight strikeouts after one trip through the order. During one overpowering stretch, he recorded eight consecutive strikeouts to set a career high and match the franchise record accomplished by Don Wilson and Jim Deshaies.
Verlander struck out Brandon Marsh, Bryson Scott and Nick Maton swinging in the second. He returned for the third and recorded called third strikes against Matt Vierling, Daulton Guthrie and Stubbs. He fanned designated hitter Bryce Harper for the second time in as many at-bats to open the fourth before Alec Bohm ended the run with a groundout to short.
Marsh worked a four-pitch walk leading off the fifth to end the bid for a perfect game. Verlander followed with strikeouts of Scott and Maton to cap his night. He threw 77 pitches, 51 for strikes.
The Astros (105-56) provided Verlander ample run support with a five-spot in the first against Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez (10-7), who surrendered a two-run home run to Jeremy Pena and a three-run blast to Kyle Tucker before recording an out.
Pena plated Jose Altuve (leadoff double) with his 22nd home run. Tucker drove in Yordan Alvarez (double) and Alex Bregman (walk) with his 30th homer, a majestic shot to right.
Martin Maldonado added a leadoff homer in the second, his career-high 15th, off Suarez that extended the lead to 6-0. Suarez allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings.
Altuve finished 3-for-3 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. Alvarez had three doubles.
--Field Level Media