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Verlander fifth to reach 250 K's five times

September 1, 2019

TORONTO -- With a sharp slider that disappeared at the right time, Justin Verlander made history. The Astros righty's strikeout of Toronto's Justin Smoak in the fourth inning of his no-hitter during Sunday's 2-0 Houston win at Rogers Centre marked the 250th strikeout of Verlander’s season, making him the fifth

TORONTO -- With a sharp slider that disappeared at the right time, Justin Verlander made history.

The Astros righty's strikeout of Toronto's Justin Smoak in the fourth inning of his no-hitter during Sunday's 2-0 Houston win at Rogers Centre marked the 250th strikeout of Verlander’s season, making him the fifth pitcher ever to achieve that feat five times in a career.

Verlander, who fanned a league-high 290 batters a season ago, joins Gerrit Cole as just the second pair of teammates to post consecutive 250-strikeout seasons. The other was Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling for Arizona in 2001-02.

Entering the day with 243 strikeouts, good for second in the Majors behind Cole, Verlander made quick work of the Blue Jays through four innings to reach the milestone. It started with the first batter he faced, Bo Bichette, who whiffed on Verlander’s signature put-away pitch -- the slider. Verlander had a 40 percent whiff rate on his slider entering Sunday, per Baseball Savant, which is his best rate for any pitch since 2012.

Verlander finished with 14 strikeouts on his historic day. He ranks 18th on the all-time strikeout list (second among active players behind CC Sabathia).