Justin Verlander pitches second career no-hitter versus Blue Jays

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Justin Verlander pitched the second no-hitter of the 2011 season and his second career no-hitter Saturday in a 9-0 win over the Blue Jays.

Verlander had a perfect game going until catcher J. P. Arencibia worked a walk on an exquisite 12-pitch at-bat with one out in the eighth.  Arencibia, who barely missed a double down the left-field line earlier in his at-bat, was promptly erased on a double-play ball from Edwin Encarnacion, and Verlander went on to make it look easy in the ninth, getting a popup from David Cooper, a soft groundout from John McDonald and then a strikeout of Rajai Davis to end it.

Oddly enough, Verlander, who was tied for second in the AL with 51 strikeouts entering the day, fanned just four in the game.  Francisco Liriano had only two strikeouts in his no-hitter earlier this week.  Prior to that, every no-hitter thrown since Dwight Gooden’s on May 14, 1996 had featured at least six strikeouts.

Verlander’s previous no-hitter came against the Brewers in interleague play on June 12, 2007.  He joins Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay as the only active pitchers with multiple no-hitters.  Halladay’s second no-hitter came in the postseason last year.

The no-hitter was the seventh in Tigers history.  The last Tiger besides Verlander to throw one was Jack Morris on April 7, 1984.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.