DETROIT - Justin Verlander came within two outs of his third no-hitter, allowing only Josh Harrison's ninth-inning single in the Detroit Tigers' 6-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
The 29-year-old Verlander, last year's AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, nearly became the sixth major league pitcher with at least three career no-hitters. But with one out in the ninth, Harrison reached out and flicked a 1-2 slider into shallow centre field for a clean single.
The crowd at Comerica Park, already on its feet, gave Verlander a big ovation and the right-hander quickly finished off the Pirates with a pair of groundouts. Verlander (5-1) completed his one-hit gem with 12 strikeouts and two walks. It was his sixth career shutout and 16th complete game.
Verlander no-hit Toronto on May 7, 2011. His other no-hitter came June 12, 2007, against Milwaukee.
This was his first one-hitter, although he allowed one hit in eight innings against the Los Angeles Angels last season, one of several close calls to go with the no-hitter against the Blue Jays.
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit consecutive RBI doubles in the first off Charlie Morton (2-4). Delmon Young added a solo homer in the fourth.
BLUE JAYS 14, METS 5
TORONTO (AP) — J.P. Arencibia and Rajai Davis each hit two home runs, Yan Gomes hit his first career homer and Toronto routed the New York Mets.
Trailing by nine, the Mets gave their weary bullpen a break by turning to catcher Rob Johnson to pitch the eighth. Johnson produced New York's only 1-2-3 inning of the night, striking out Eric Thames to end it.
Arencibia hit a three-run homer in the first off Jonathon Niese (2-2) and finished with a career-high six RBIs as the Blue Jays won their third straight.
Ricky Romero (5-1) was the beneficiary of Toronto's power surge, winning for the first time in three starts. The left-hander allowed one run and three hits in six innings.
Niese, winless in five starts, lasted three innings and matched a career worst by allowing eight runs.
YANKEES 4, REDS 0
NEW YORK (AP) — Andy Pettitte pitched eight sharp innings for his first regular-season win since July 2010, leading New York over Cincinnati.
Making his second major league start since ending his one-year retirement, the 39-year-old Pettitte (1-1) limited the young, free-swinging Reds to four hits — all singles. He struck out nine and walked one, throwing 78 of 115 pitches for strikes.
Given a 1-0 lead on Alex Rodriguez's RBI grounder in the fourth, Pettitte pitched well enough to make it stand up. Robinson Cano hit a solo homer off Bronson Arroyo (2-2) in the eighth and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run drive, his eighth homer of the season.
Boone Logan pitched a perfect ninth as New York stopped a three-game skid.
BRAVES 5, RAYS 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tommy Hanson pitched seven effective innings, Freddie Freeman drove in two runs and Atlanta beat Tampa Bay.
Hanson (5-3) allowed two runs and six hits. Freeman had a run-scoring double and Brian McCann hit an RBI single that put the Braves up 4-2 in the fifth. Martin Prado added a solo homer in the seventh.
Chipper Jones left after seven innings because of a bruised left calf. Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 12th save.
James Shields (6-2) gave up four runs and seven hits over six innings for Tampa Bay. Luke Scott had two RBIs.
MARLINS 3, INDIANS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Zambrano pitched seven strong innings to help Miami open interleague play with a victory over Cleveland.
The Marlins broke a 2-all tie in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Hanley Ramirez. All three Miami runs were scored by batters who walked.
Zambrano (2-2) gave up four hits and two runs as he continued a strong first season in Miami after 11 years with the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander has a 1.96 ERA in eight starts since being acquired in a January trade.
Heath Bell worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight chances.
Tony Sipp (0-2) took the loss as Cleveland had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Marlins centre fielder Emilio Bonifacio left with a strained left thumb in the fifth inning.
WHITE SOX 3, CUBS 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Gordon Beckham hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and the Chicago White Sox beat their crosstown rivals in what was likely the final major league game for Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.
Beckham's solo shot and a two-run drive by Paul Konerko in the first were the only runs allowed by Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (4-2).
Konerko sustained a laceration above his left eye and swelling when he was hit by Samardizja's pitch in the third inning and had to leave the game. Tests revealed no other problems with Konerko's eye.
Matt Thornton (2-3) won in relief of Philip Humber.
After striking out his only batter on three pitches, Wood left to a rousing ovation at Wrigley Field. He plans to announce his retirement Saturday.
PHILLIES 6, RED SOX 4
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cole Hamels pitched seven strong innings and Jonathan Papelbon saved his first game against his former team in Philadelphia's sixth straight victory.
Hamels (6-1) gave up three runs on six hits while striking out nine and walking one.
Freddy Galvis and Hunter Pence homered for the Phillies and streaking Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs for Philadelphia, which moved two games above .500 for the first time this season.
Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in as many chances. Papelbon had 219 saves in six seasons with the Red Sox before signing a four-year, $50 million deal with Philadelphia in the off-season.
Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Aviles and Cody Ross homered for the Red Sox. Daniel Bard (3-5) allowed five runs on three hits with five walks in five innings.
ORIOLES 2, NATIONALS 1, 11 innings
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nick Markakis homered into the second deck in right field to give Baltimore a victory over its beltway rival.
Markakis' blast off Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus (2-1) helped the Orioles improve to 6-2 in extra innings with all six victories coming on the road.
The first-place Orioles have won four straight.
Four Orioles relievers followed starter Jake Arrieta, including Kevin Gregg (2-1) in the 10th inning. Pedro Strop allowed two runners to reach in the 11th inning before finishing off the Nationals for his third save.
Arrieta matched his career-high with nine strikeouts. He allowed one run and six hits, walking one in seven innings.
Edwin Jackson (1-2) matched him, allowing one run in eight innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
MARINERS 4, ROCKIES 0
DENVER (AP) — Kevin Millwood tossed a two-hitter for his first shutout in nearly nine years and Mike Carp hit a solo homer, helping Seattle beat Colorado to snap a four-game skid.
Millwood (2-4) didn't allow his first hit until there were two outs in the sixth. He struck out seven and walked one in his 22nd career complete game. The 37-year-old right-hander didn't let a runner reach third until the ninth inning, but got Carlos Gonzalez to line out to end the game.
The Mariners improved to 2-6 on their 10-game, four-city road swing.
Alex White (0-3) was the hard-luck loser, dropping his sixth straight start in a dubious string that dates to Sept. 16. He gave up three runs — two earned — and seven hits in seven innings.
RANGERS 4, ASTROS 1
HOUSTON (AP) — Adrian Beltre homered and drove in two runs and Michael Young broke out of a slump with two hits and an RBI to lift Texas over Houston.
Rangers starter Neftali Feliz allowed three hits and a run with five walks in 4 2-3 innings — his shortest start of the year. He was relieved by Robbie Ross (5-0), who allowed one hit in 2 1-3 innings for the win.
Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save. He has appeared in four straight games for the first time since September 2009.
Wandy Rodriguez (3-4) gave up three runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings.
Josh Hamilton went 1 for 5, a day after his 16-game hitting streak ended. Ian Kinsler added three hits for the Rangers.
DIAMONDBACKS 6, ROYALS 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Montero had three RBIs, driving in the go-ahead runs with a double in the eighth inning, and Arizona beat Kansas City.
The Royals tied it in the seventh before Kelvin Herrera (0-1) gave up back-to-back singles to Willie Bloomquist and Justin Upton to start the eighth. Montero's second double of the game off reliever Tim Collins gave the Diamondbacks the lead.
Brad Ziegler (3-1) and Craig Breslow got the game to J.J. Putz, who earned for his eighth save.
Chris Young came off the disabled list to add a pair of RBIs for the Diamondbacks, who have won consecutive games for the first time since April 29 to May 1.
Billy Butler homered for the Royals, who are 4-16 at home.
TWINS 11, BREWERS 3
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Scott Diamond won his third straight start and Josh Willingham homered as Minnesota routed Milwaukee.
Diamond (3-0) gave up a run in the first, ending the 14-inning scoreless stretch he put together in two starts since he was called up from the minors. He went on to give up three runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Willingham hit a two-run shot, Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs and Denard Span had four hits and three RBIs for the Twins.
Ryan Braun hit his 11th home run for the struggling Brewers, who made four errors. Marco Estrada (0-3) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings.
ANGELS 4, PADRES 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jered Weaver and two relievers combined on a three-hitter, Mike Trout had an RBI triple among his three hits and the Angels beat the Padres.
Albert Pujols singled, walked and scored twice in his first game in an NL ballpark since leaving St. Louis and signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels on Dec. 10.
Making his third start since throwing his first career no-hitter, Weaver (6-1) held San Diego two runs in seven innings while allowing a homer and two singles. He struck out four and walked three.
Scott Downs pitched a perfect eighth and former Padres pitcher Ernesto Frieri allowed a walk in the ninth.
Jeff Suppan (2-2) took the loss.
DODGERS 6, CARDINALS 5
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A.J. Ellis drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning, helping the Dodgers to a victory over the Cardinals in the opener of a series between the NL West and Central Division leaders.
Los Angeles' Adam Kennedy had four hits against his former team and James Loney drove in two runs.
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman, 3 for 31 with 10 strikeouts against Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly, was not in St. Louis' starting lineup despite having led the NL with 22 road home runs last season. He came up with two outs in the ninth as a pinch-hitter for Shane Robinson and drove an 0-1 pitch from closer Kenley Jansen into the pavilion seats in right-centre for his first homer in 41 at-bats this season — ending the longest season-opening drought of his 14-year career.
GIANTS 8, ATHLETICS 6
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Zito outdid his old Oakland team, Brandon Belt drove in three runs, and the Giants beat the Athletics in the Bay Bridge Series opener.
Hector Sanchez had two RBIs to back Zito (3-1), who won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award across the bay in Oakland but left for a $126 million, seven-year deal with the Giants before the 2007 season.
Josh Donaldson homered, doubled in a run and hit a three-run double off Steve Edlefsen for the A's, giving Donaldson career-bests of three hits and five RBIs. But Oakland couldn't overcome a shaky night by starter Jarrod Parker (1-2) and lost their 10th straight in San Francisco's waterfront ballpark dating to 2009.