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BASEBALL: Verlander throws no-hitter

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) – With one out to go, Justin Verlander cracked a smile on the mound.

He could afford to enjoy the moment, he’d seen this before. So had baseball fans – real recently, in fact.

Verlander threw his second career no-hitter and the second in the big leagues this week, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 9-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

“I was a lot more calm today,” Verlander said. “Obviously, there’s some adrenaline – you can’t help it – but having been through this situation before, I was definitely able to calm myself down a little bit easier than last time.”

Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

Verlander barely missed a perfect game. The only runner he allowed came with one out in the eighth inning when J.P. Arencibia walked on a full count, with Verlander’s 12th pitch to the rookie just an inch or two outside.

“It was as good as it gets,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He just missed by inches of being perfect. It really doesn’t get any better than that. That’s great stuff.”

Verlander had no argument with the call by plate umpire Jerry Meals.

“Right out of my fingertips, I knew it was just a hair outside and it was,” he said. “It was a ball and you’ve got to give Jerry a ‘Good job.’ He called it a ball and it was.”

Verlander (3-3) struck out 12 in his first no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 12, 2007. This time, he fanned Rajai Davis to end it for his fourth strikeout of the game. The overpowering right-hander threw 108 pitches, 74 for strikes, against a Blue Jays lineup missing ailing slugger Jose Bautista.

Mixing fastballs that sizzled over 100 mph with an effective changeup, Verlander became the 30th pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters, STATS LLC said.