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.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.