Verlander pitches 3rd no-hitter, Astros beat Blue Jays 2-0

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              Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander reacts after pitching a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in a baseball game in Toronto, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
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TORONTO (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched his third career no-hitter, punctuating a dominant season with an overpowering performance to lead the Houston Astros past the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 on Sunday.

Verlander struck out 14 and allowed just one runner, walking Cavan Biggio with one out in the first inning.

Verlander also became the first pitcher to throw two no-hitters as a visitor in the same park — he also threw one at Rogers Centre in 2011 with Detroit. His other no-no was in 2007 for the Tigers against Milwaukee.

The 36-year-old Verlander joined Nolan Ryan (seven), Sandy Koufax (four) and Bob Feller, Cy Young and Larry Corcoran (three) in rarefied air on the no-hitter list.

Verlander threw a season-high 120 pitches, mixing a fastball that reached the upper 90s mph with a sharp curve.

Verlander (17-5) is tied for the big league lead in wins. He tops the majors in strikeouts (257) and innings (193) and leads the AL with a 2.56 ERA.

Verlander retired the last 26 hitters in a row. But the game was scoreless going into the last inning — according to baseball rules, Verlander needed to pitch a complete game to get credit for a no-hitter.

That’s when Canadian-born rookie Abraham Toro stepped up for the AL West leaders. The Astros newcomer hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Ken Giles (2-3) that cleared the way for Verlander to complete the no-hitter.

PHILLIES 5, METS 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Scott Kingery snapped an eighth-inning tie with a three-run double and Philadelphia beat New York to avoid a three-game sweep.

Brad Miller hit a solo homer and a double for the Phillies, who pulled within 2½ games of the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card.

Pete Alonso hit his 43rd homer and Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 25 consecutive games with a fourth-inning double for the Mets, who are four games behind the Cubs.

Daniel Zamora (0-1), who was just recalled from the minors, took the loss.

Hector Neris (3-5) got the final five outs for Philadelphia.

Phillies starter Zach Eflin pitched seven stellar innings, allowing only Alonso’s first-inning homer and two other hits.

Mets starter Marcus Stroman also pitched well, giving up two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks in six-plus innings.

YANKEES 5, ATHLETICS 4

NEW YORK (AP) — Brett Gardner and pinch-hitter Mike Ford hit back-to-back homers off A’s closer Liam Hendriks, and New York rallied from four runs down and walked off for the second straight game.

Gardner led off the ninth with a shot to right off Hendriks (4-2) and Ford followed with his 10th homer into the Yankees bullpen in right-center.

A’s left-hander Sean Manaea pitched one-hit ball over five innings in his first start since shoulder surgery last September, and Oakland led 4-0 after 7 1/2 innings.

Adam Ottavino (6-4) pitched a scoreless inning to win.

TWINS 8, TIGERS 3

DETROIT (AP) — Jake Cave and Nelson Cruz each drove in two runs and Minnesota beat Detroit.

The Twins increased their lead in the AL Central to 5 ½ games over Cleveland.

Detroit has lost seven of eight and still needs four wins at Comerica Park to avoid becoming the first big league team to lose 60 games at home in a season.

Cave’s two-run single highlighted a five-run second inning.

Michael Pineda (11-5) got the win, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out nine.

Spencer Turnbull (3-14) took the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

RAYS 8, INDIANS 2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Carlos Carrasco made his return to the mound from leukemia Sunday and the Cleveland pitcher was applauded by both teams in a touching scene Tampa Bay victory.

The right-hander entered in the seventh inning for his first major league appearance since being diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia in June.

Charlie Morton earned his 14th win and Travis d’Arnaud had two RBIs off the bench as Tampa Bay swept a critical series between postseason contenders.

Morton (14-6) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out eight, walked three and threw a season-high 108 pitches.

Nate Lowe hit a two-run homer for the Rays, who moved a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the top AL wild card. Indians starter Adam Plutko (6-4) allowed four runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

NATIONALS 9, MARLINS 3

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman celebrated his return from the injured list with one of Washington’s four home runs and the Nationals completed a series sweep of Miami.

Zimmerman, who was reinstated Sunday after missing 36 games with Plantar Fasciitis in his right foot, connected for a two-run shot. Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon each homered for the second consecutive game for Washington, while Yan Gomes also had a home run.

Rendon set a new Nationals (2005-present) single-season record for RBIs with 111. Vladimir Guerrero holds the franchise record of 131 set in 1999 when the team was in Montreal.

Washington, the NL wild card leader, has won four straight and nine of 10.

Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (11-6) allowed three runs on three hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

Starlin Castro homered for Miami, which saw its franchise-record road losing streak extend to 15 games.

Starter Caleb Smith (8-9) gave up seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.

CARDINALS 4, REDS 3, 1ST GAME

REDS 5, CARDINALS 3, 2ND GAME

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nick Senzel and Phillip Ervin hit solo home runs, Luis Castillo pitched six effective innings and Cincinnati Reds beat St. Louis in the nightcap to split a doubleheader and end a four-game losing streak.

With the 4-3 win in the first game and the Chicago Cubs’ 4-0 loss to Milwaukee, the Cardinals gained a half game in the NL Central to increase their division lead to three games. St. Louis has only lost two of its past 11 games and is 12-3 in its past 15.

Castillo (14-5) lasted six innings, giving up three runs and five hits with three walks. He struck out eight as the Reds’ pitchers had 11 in the game.

Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-2) allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits with a walk, and a hit batter in four-plus innings.

The Cardinals Andrew Knizer hit his second homer of the season, a two-run shot that was part of a three-run third for St. Louis. Kolten Wong had three hits, including a triple, and an RBI.

In the first game, Harrison Bader continued his hit parade with a game-ending single to lift the Cardinals to the win.

Bader, facing five infielders with no one out, lofted a fly ball off Michael Lorenzen (0-4) to deep right field to bring in pinch-runner Tyler O’Neill.

Eugenio Suarez homered for the Reds.

Carlos Martinez (4-2) picked up the victory by striking out the side in the ninth on 13 pitches.

ROYALS 6, ORIOLES 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Adalberto Mondesi matched a career high with four hits and stole three bases in his return from the injured list, leading Kansas City past Baltimore.

Meibrys Viloria drove in the go-ahead run for the Royals with a two-out single in the seventh inning. Kansas City took two of three in a series.

Mondesi led off the seventh with his third hit and stole second. With two outs, Alex Gordon drove him in with a tying double, and Gordon scored on Viloria’s single to make it 5-4.

Whit Merrifield added a solo homer in the eighth.

Kevin McCarthy (3-2) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win. Ian Kennedy pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save in 28 chances.

Paul Fry (1-7) took the loss.

BREWERS 4, CUBS 0

CHICAGO (AP) — Christian Yelich hit a three-run homer off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning, and Milwaukee shut out Chicago for the second straight game.

Milwaukee took two of three in the weekend series to pull within three games of Chicago for the second NL wild card.

After Gio González walked four in three hitless innings, Jay Jackson (1-0) got six outs for his first major league win. Drew Pomeranz got two big outs in the eighth before Josh Hader finished the four-hitter.

Tyler Chatwood (5-3) took the loss.

The Cubs left nine runners on base and went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

MARINERS 11, RANGERS 3

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kyle Seager, Tom Murphy and Daniel Vogelbach hit home runs and Seattle beat Texas.

Seager sealed the victory with a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Yusei Kikuchi (6-9) benefited from Seattle’s four first-inning runs. Dee Gordon chased Brett Martin (1-3) from the game after just two outs with a two-run single.

Kikuchi allowed three runs in five innings. He has exceeded five innings in only one of his last six starts.

The teams split the four-game set. Seattle won the season series 12-7.

PIRATES 6, ROCKIES 2

DENVER (AP) — Steven Brault hit his first major league homer and pitched effectively into the seventh inning to lead Pittsburgh over Colorado for a four-game sweep.

Adam Frazier homered on the first pitch of the game, the second straight day the Pirates did that.

Brault (4-3) allowed only one hit until Nolan Arenado lined a two-out fastball into the seats in left field in the sixth for his 35th home run. Brault left in the seventh when the Rockies got a run on two hits and an error, but Richard Rodriguez got out of the jam by fanning Trevor Story.

Brault socked a solo homer that made it 3-1 in the top of the seventh. He allowed just one earned run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Josh Bell and Colin Moran each hit an RBI single for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds had three hits.

Jeff Hoffman (1-5) took the loss.

PADRES 8, GIANTS 4

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ty France homered twice, Greg Garcia hit a leadoff drive and San Diego beat San Francisco as Giants fans gave one more cheer for Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval grounded out as a pinch-hitter in what could be his final game with the Giants. The 33-year-old former World Series MVP was activated off the injured list earlier in the day for a final at-bat under retiring manager Bruce Bochy.

Sandoval will undergo season-ending surgery on his right elbow Wednesday.

Eric Hosmer doubled, singled and tripled in his first three at-bats for San Diego. With a chance at the cycle, he walked in the seventh inning and struck out in the ninth.

Eric Lauer (8-8) beat the Giants for the third time this season. He struck out nine and allowed four runs in six innings.

Kevin Pillar hit his 20th home run for San Francisco. Evan Longoria added a two-run shot.

Jeff Samardzija (9-11) took the loss.

RED SOX 4, ANGELS 3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Xander Bogaerts had three hits, including a homer, and three RBIs as the Boston beat Los Angeles.

J.D. Martinez also went deep for the Red Sox, who went 6-2 on the trip and have won 11 of their last 15 to get within five games of the second AL wild card.

Albert Pujols had an RBI double in the third inning for his 3,185th career hit, passing Cal Ripken Jr. for 14th place. Justin Upton homered in the eighth.

Bogaerts and Martinez went back-to-back in the third.

Ryan Weber (2-2), the third of six Boston pitchers, gave up one hit and a walk in two innings to get the win.

Andrew Heaney (3-4) went five innings and permitted four runs on seven hits.

DODGERS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3, 11 INNINGS

PHOENIX (AP) — Cody Bellinger hit a tying homer in the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Joc Pederson went deep in the 11th and Los Angeles prevented a four-game sweep with a win over Arizona.

In a frightening scene, Dodgers reliever Dustin May was hit in the head by a line drive and stayed down for a few anxious moments in the middle of a hushed ballpark. But the pitcher ultimately stood up, was checked by a trainer and walked off the field without help.

Russell Martin and David Freese also hit solo shots for the NL West leaders, who stopped Arizona’s six-game winning streak. Los Angeles raised its season total to 238 homers, a franchise record.

Pederson led off the 11th and sent a full-count pitch from Taylor Clarke (4-5) high into the right field seats for his 28th home run. Bellinger’s 43rd of the year came with one out in the ninth off Andrew Chafin.

Pedro Baez got three outs for his first save of the season.

Casey Sadler (4-0) earned the win. Taylor Clarke (4-5) took the loss.

BRAVES 5, WHITE SOX 3

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman homered twice off All-Star Lucas Giolito and drove in five runs, providing all the offense for Atlanta against Chicago.

The Braves have won four straight are 12-2 since Aug. 16, moving 30 games over .500 for the first time since 2013. They have won a season-best nine straight home games to stay 5½ games ahead in the NL East.

The White Sox have lost six in a row.

Giolito (14-8) allowed four runs and four hits.

Julio Teheran (9-8) gave up two runs and three hits in six innings.