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.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.