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Verlander dominates Jays with no-hitter

Abraham Toro provided the offensive juice in the nick of time at home on Canadian soil

MLB: Houston Astros at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Astros 2 at Blue Jays 0 (runs, hits, hope against Verlander etc)

Getting no-hit is never fun, but if it’s going to happen to the Jays, at least there’s the excuse of it being at the hands of the future Hall-of-Famer at the top of his game. Justin Verlander flat out dominated the Blue Jays, striking out 14 of the 28 batters he faced in throwing his third career no-hitter as the Jays never really even came close to hit. Usually in such games there’s a close call or great defensive play to save it, but a sharply hit ground ball right at third base by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was about as close as they came.

Verlander becomes the third pitcher in MLB history to no-hit the same team twice, even more noteworthy considering throughout his career he’s been a non-division opponent in a era of very unbalanced schedules. In both cases, the only a single walk separated him from a perfect game.

Almost exactly 100 months ago on May 7th 2011, Verlander set down the first 22 Blue Jays he faced before walking J.P. Arencibia (of all people) on a very, very close 3-2 pitch. this afternoon with almost the exact opposite — he walked Cavan Biggio as the second batter of the game, before setting down the last 26 Blue Jays in order. I misremembered the Arencibia walk as happening in the 8th rather than 9th, which would have madeit perfectly symmetric.

But whether Verlander would keep the Jays out of the hit column was not the only drama, as the Jays bullpen kept the Astros off the scoreboard and locked in a 0-0 duel for most of the game. Wilmer Font worked around a runner in each of his two innings, before turning it over to Sam Gaviglio who buzzsawed through the order in a perfect three innings.

Zach Godley extended it to a perfect 6th, before running into trouble in the 7th. When he allowed a one out single to Yordan Alvarez, it broke up a stretch of 31 straight batters retired in the game since a double opening the top of the second. He then hit old friend Aledmys Diaz, but worked out of the jam before stranding a two out single for a scoreless 8th.

Surprisingly, it was Ken Giles who couldn’t hold the line. He allowed a leadoff double to Alex Bregman, before striking out Alvarez and inducing Diaz to flyout to keep the runner anchored at 2nd with two out. But Abraham Toro, playing in front of friends and family on home soil blasted a home run to finally put the Astros ahead and ensure that Verlander would be able to have a shot at completing the no-no.

Incidentally, it wasn’t the only no-hit attempt involving the Blue Jays today. Down in Portland, Maine (or I guess up technically) Yennsy Diaz took a no-hitter into the bottom of the 7th inning. Starting the inning at 75 pitches, he probably wasn’t going to be allowed to complete it anyway, but with two out and a two strike hit Brett Netzer squared up a ball into right field to plate a run. Perhaps there was a quota on no-hitters for the day, it happened within a minute after Verlander finishing up in Toronto.

Jays of the Day: Font (+0.100 WPA), Gaviglio (+0.182), Godley (+0.272)

Blew Jays: Giles (-0.407). Of the hitters, Brandon Drury (-0.106) and Rowdy Tellez (-.106) hit the threshold. Tellez might deserve one as the only guy to take a sombrero, but considering seven batters put up the exact same 0-for-3, it seems unfair to single anyone out and just tip the cap to Verlander.

Tomorrow the Jays are in Atlanta for return their visit last week for a quick two game set with the matinee 1:20 PM eastern Labour Day start time before the quirk of a Wednesday off day. Mike Soroka will try to avenge his defeat against Jacob Waguespack. This series wraps up not only the interleague portion of the schedule, but also the non-divisional portion of the schedule. It’s all Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Orioles from here out!