For the second time in Toronto, and the third time in his career, Justin Verlander let out a victorious yell near the pitcher’s mound as his teammates mobbed him to celebrate him throwing a no-hitter. This latest one came in a 2-0 victory against the Blue Jays and was sealed when third baseman Abraham Torro’s throw to first was in time to get the final out of the game.
The last time Verlander was in this position of joyousness, the year was 2011, when he was still a Detroit Tiger. The outing was the second no-hitter of his career in a 9-0 against the Blue Jays, and he told reporters after the game that it felt “as good as the first”—his first, for what it’s worth, came in 2007 against the Brewers. After Sunday’s achievement, he had a few more words to share when it came to just how damn happy he was.
“Man, I cant put it into words,” said Verlander. “I mean, I’ve been so close to the third one so many times, it just didn’t happen and then tonight, Abraham Toro comes up with a huge homer. Only fitting that he was able to make the last out. Ball is in play, you’re just hoping that it’s an out. Make an out, make an out, make an out, good throw, good throw, good throw. Let’s celebrate.”
All that separated Verlander from a perfect game was giving up a walk to Cavan Biggio in the second at-bat of the game. But though that spoiled perfection, it didn’t spoil what this meant to him. Verlander skipped the canned statements and outright admitted that he understands where his third no-hitter puts him in baseball history.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know that the list of guys who have thrown three instead of two gets pretty small — some of the guys I’ve idolized,” said Verlander on the postgame TV show. “It’s a special moment. I’m so happy to be able to celebrate this with my teammates.
Those guys that Verlander joins as the only people to throw at least three no-hitters are Larry Corcoran, Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Cy Young. Where the Houston pitcher stands out is with being the only person to have thrown two no-hitters against the same team as a visiting opponent. Even sweeter is the fact that Toronto has historically been very good against Verlander. Heading into Sunday’s historic game, he had a career 4.73 ERA against the Blue Jays. Needless to say, that number wasn’t enough to deter him from dominating the way that he did, as he finished the game with 14 K’s.
Good for the big ol’ moon nerd.