MINNEAPOLIS – After two frustrating years, Astros ace Justin Verlander is unsure about his future in baseball. The two-time Cy Young winner made just one game in 2020 and 2021 together, and missed the entire last season after Tommy John’s surgery.
Verlander is back to his old self – just like that guy with all those who don’t hit.
Verlander missed a fourth no-no by five times due to a former Yankee player but still faced the bottom line through eight rounds, and Houston beat the Minnesota Twins 5-0 on Tuesday night for their eighth straight win.
“Maybe the game has come out so deep that I appreciate being here, playing with my teammates, putting in so well, all that,” Verlander said.
Twins Geo Orcilla hit third baseman on the right court with one in eighth to finish off Verlander’s attempt. The 39-year-old right-hander, in his first season after returning from Tommy John’s surgery, finished the run by convincing Royce Lewis to make a double play.
Verlander was vying for a tie with Sandy Kovacs for second place on the no-hitting list. Nolan Ryan holds the record with seven.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been here a few times before and it’s happened. I’ve had a heartbreaking few in the ninth inning,” Verlander said. We did that.”
Tuesday’s outing moved Verlander to 4-1 with 1.55 ERA through six starts to continue his excellent start to the 2022 season.
“A man is a horse,” said Dusty Becker, director of the Astros. “When he plays, the guys stay alert. He gets the ball fast. He doesn’t mess around on the pile, so you keep your defense sharp when you do.”
Verlander scored five goals and walked two on 89 shots. Blake Taylor ninth monument to Houston.
Becker said Verlander was on a 90-court max but added that he could have extended that had Verlander been successful in eight rounds without an injury.
Verlander was perfect through four rounds before being allowed to run to Jorge Polanco in the fifth. Ferlander had Urciela take advantage of a double game later to retire Polanco.
The right-hander walked up to Minnesota’s No. 9 hitter, Gilberto Celestino, in sixth, but Celestino was later knocked out at second base by catcher Martin Maldonado—one of several strong defensive plays supporting Verlander’s performance.
“The non-hitter was kind of getting really deep into the game and he was able to put in a great play, spin and throw the guy in second place trying to get ahead,” Ferlander said of Maldonado. “Really, his job behind the painting was great.”
Jeremy Pena drove in the first two Astros rounds. Alex Bregman also had two RBIs, including a double to the left on the fifth who drove in Jose Altuve.
Twins player Joe Ryan (3-2) struggled to find the strike zone. The right-handed issued a walk in each of his five innings and allowed four rounds.
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