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Verlander dominates in no-hitter for Tigers

June 13, 2007|From the Associated Press

DETROIT — Justin Verlander threw 100-mph heat, crazy curves and a tantalizing changeup.

No-hit stuff, indeed.

With a big assist from his shortstop, Verlander pitched the first no-hitter in Comerica Park history, leading the Detroit Tigers over the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-0, Tuesday night.

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.

The 2006 American League rookie of the year struck out 12. He benefited from several stellar plays, the best by shortstop Neifi Perez, who turned a possible single up the middle in the eighth inning into an inning-ending double play.

"About the fifth or sixth you can't help but think about it a little," Verlander said. "Everyone kept giving me high-fives and nobody came and sat next to me."

The National League Central-leading Brewers didn't have a chance against Verlander.

"We only hit four or five balls hard all night ... that's how dominant he was," said Craig Counsell, twice called out on strikes.

Verlander (7-2) worked around four walks in the Tigers' first no-hitter since Jack Morris' in 1984.

The 24-year-old trotted to the mound for the ninth inning to a standing ovation from 33,555.

Amped up, he struck out Counsell and Tony Graffanino. That brought up J.J. Hardy, and Verlander had a momentary lapse, throwing a high breaking ball. At that point, Verlander stepped off the mound.

Verlander then got Hardy to lift a high fly ball that right fielder Magglio Ordonez caught at the edge of the warning track.

Verlander didn't even see the ball settle into Ordonez's glove.

"I wanted to watch the catch, but Pudge was yelling in my ear," he said.

Catcher Ivan Rodriguez was already at the mound and hugged Verlander as the pitcher wheeled around.

It was the first no-hitter in Detroit since Nolan Ryan of the Angels did it at Tiger Stadium in 1973. Comerica opened in 2000.

Milwaukee had not been no-hit since April 27, 1994, by Scott Erickson at Minnesota. This was the third no-hitter since interleague play began -- David Cone did it for the New York Yankees against Montreal and a set of Houston pitchers did it to the Yankees.

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