Justin Verlander had to settle for a one-hitter in Detroit’s 6-0 win over the Pirates on Friday, but that hardly takes away from his incredible run.
– The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is now 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA and a major league-best 0.80 WHIP this season. He also took over the league lead in strikeouts by upping his total to 68 tonight.
– He struck out 12 batters for the sixth time in his career. Half of those starts have come in the last calendar year.
– It was Verlander’s 51st consecutive start of at least six innings, the longest such streak since 2000. Mark Buehrle had a streak of 49 six-inning starts in 2004-05.
Josh Harrison was the only Pirate to have decent at-bats against Verlander tonight, so it was fitting that he broke up the no-hitter with one out in the ninth with a line drive single off a 1-2 curveball. In all, Harrison hit three of the four balls that the Pirates got out of the infield in the game.
Of course, Pittsburgh is far from an offensive juggernaut — the Pirates rank last in the majors in runs scored and it’s not even close — but Verlander probably would have shut down any lineup tonight. With two already down, one gets the impression that it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the sixth pitcher in major league history with three no-hitters under his belt.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.