Justin Verlander pitched his third career no-hitter against the Blue Jays

Justin Verlander
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There’s seemingly no end to the list of Justin Verlander’s accomplishments, and on Sunday, he began working toward another. The Astros ace crafted his third career no-hitter against the Blue Jays, working with a pitch count of 120 and striking out 14 of 28 batters.

Verlander’s perfect game attempt didn’t last long. He struck out Bo Bichette to kick off the bottom of the first inning, then issued a five-pitch walk to Cavan Biggio in the next at-bat. From there, however, the strikeouts began to roll in: two in the first, two in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth, another in the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and three in the eighth. Unsurprisingly, he surpassed the 250-strikeout threshold after whiffing Justin Smoak in the fourth, marking the fifth time he’s passed that milestone in his major-league career to date.

While the Blue Jays didn’t quite match Verlander’s skill on the mound, they still managed to hold the Astros scoreless through eight. Aledmys Díaz notched the first hit of the afternoon on a leadoff double in the second, while Yordan Álvarez and José Altuve came back with base hits in the seventh and eighth. In the ninth, powered by an Alex Bregman double, rookie third baseman Abraham Toro launched a two-run homer off of Ken Giles to give the Astros a much-needed lead.

Verlander came back in the ninth with another pristine performance, retiring Brandon Drury on a groundout and whiffing Reese McGuire on a 1-2 slider. For his final out of the afternoon, he fittingly faced off against Bo Bichette one more time, working a full count against the rookie shortstop before inducing a game-ending groundout to third.

Verlander’s performance was the third of its kind since he tossed a no-hitter against the Brewers in 2007 and the Blue Jays in 2011. He’s also the first Astros pitcher to record a no-hitter since August 3, when Houston’s Aaron Sanchez, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, and Joe Biagini combined for a no-no against the Mariners. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, had not been on the losing end of a no-hitter since last May, when they were blanked by then-Mariners hurler James Paxton.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.