Found May 18, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- Clint Hurdle grew up in Michigan and dreamed about watching one of his beloved Tigers pitch a no-hitter. Friday night, he almost got his wish. The Big Rapids native, now the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, could only watch helplessly as Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against his team. Even when Josh Harrison's soft liner up the middle ended Verlander's chance at history, Hurdle wasn't sure how to feel. "I've wanted to be part of Tigers history since I was a little kid, and I almost was tonight," Hurdle said after Verlander's 12-strikeout one-hitter. "It would have been bittersweet, that's for sure, but that was a thing of beauty to watch." Hurdle has been around baseball for a long time -- his playing career began in 1977 -- but he was quick to acknowledge that he's never seen a pitcher like Verlander. "That's a master craftsman with a power tool," he said. "For six innings, he's throwing a 93-mph fastball on the corners, and he can spin the ball anywhere he wants. Then, for the last three innings, he puts it into another gear, and he's throwing 100, and he's still got the same breaking ball. "In all my years in this game, I've never seen anyone else who could do that." Since Verlander was throwing 100 in the ninth, Hurdle was asked if he thought it was a mistake to throw Harrison five straight breaking balls. Harrison missed the first two badly, took a ball, fouled the fourth pitch off and then looped the single just past Jhonny Peralta. "It would take someone who lived in a perfect world to second-guess anything that kid did tonight," he said. "He had a fantastic game plan, and he executed it perfectly. He knows Josh can hit a fastball, and he threw the pitches that he thought would get him out. "That guy won two big trophies last year -- the Cy Young and the MVP. They don't give those two to pitchers who don't know what they are doing." SLUMP BUSTERS For most of the 41,661 fans that showed up Friday night, Verlander's brush with history will be the only thing they remember. For the Tigers, though, there were some other crucial moments in the game. The first was Delmon Young's fourth-inning homer. Typically for Young, he swung at a pitch well out of the strike zone, but he slammed it deep into the left-field stands. Young, who has been slumping badly since his arrest in New York, hadn't hit a homer since April 13. Young followed that with a two-run double in the seventh, but Pirates starter Charlie Morton was still shaking his head about the home run. "That pitch was six inches off the ground, and it was in the right-hander's batting box," he said. "I have no idea how he dropped the head of the bat on that ball and hit it that far." The other big moment was Peralta's three-hit game. He hadn't had an extra-base hit since his walk-off homer on May 4, but he had a double and hit the ball hard all four times he came to the plate. LEYLAND DOESN'T MIND THE BOOS During Verlander's masterpiece, the fans at Comerica Park spent most of the time on their feet, cheering the no-hit attempt. That was a complete turnaround from the ugly mood they were in while the Tigers were getting swept by the Twins. Leyland didn't mind, saying the Tigers deserved everything they were getting from the crowd and more. "We have it coming right now," he said before Friday's game. "We're not performing well, and we haven't performed well this season." Leyland knows that, if his team doesn't like being jeered at home, there's a simple way to change it. "Does anyone like it?," he asked. "No. But do we expect it? Yes. We got it last year when we didn't play well, and as soon as we turned it around, things changed. "You better have broad shoulders in this game." Other than a few hardcore fans who continued booing Ryan Raburn's 0-for-4 night all the way to the end, the Tigers won over Friday's crowd completely. It's going to take their first winning streak in a month to keep them, though. "I'm tired of talking about turning things around," Leyland said after the game. "We just have to go out there and win some games."

Verlander takes no-hitter into ninth

Justin Verlander came within two outs of his third career 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...

Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander Heating Up For Summer

Justin Verlander’s latest brush with greatness gives enough reason to expect more spectacular pitching from him this season — not that he hasn’t been dominant and otherworldly already, but the 6-foot-5 Detroit Tigers ace most definitely has plenty of nastiness to unleash come summer. He showed that in 2011, and gave a preview of what’s to come [...]

Verlander Loses No-No in the 9th with One Out

He almost does it again! Justin Verlander almost does it again. As the Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Detroit Tigers tonight, Verlander almost completed his third career no-hitter. His first no-no came at home on June 12th, 2007, against the Milwaukee Brewers. His second was thrown last year on May 7th, in Toronto, against the Blue Jays. Now, with the Pirates visiting, Verlander put...

Verlander reaction to losing his no-hitter: “F-bomb”

When Pirates utilityman Josh Harrison’s blooper got by the Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta with one out in the ninth inning Friday to bust up Justin Verlander’s no-hitter, everyone had a reaction.  41,000+ fans at Comerica Park mustered up a collective “ahhhh”.  Sitting on my couch with only my one year old home with me (sleeping in a different room), I verbalized a ...

Around MLB: Verlander Best in the Game

 Someone Who Deserves a Raise...Justin Verlander, of course. He's currently 5-1 with a ERA of 2.13 and leads the Majors with a .80 WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched). Last season he became just the sixth pitcher since 1968 to win the MVP award. The others: Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Willie Hernandez, Roger Clemens, and Dennis Eckersley. Verlander threw his second career no-hitter...

I’ll admit it, I jinxed Justin Verlander’s potential no-hitter against Pirates

Baseball is a game of superstition, warranted or not. Most of the time it is warranted. That’s just how the game goes. Growing up playing the game for most of my life, and now coaching a fine bunch of young men at Burton Atherton, I often encourage players to do the same exact thing they [...]

Game 2012.40: Pirates at Tigers

Detroit Tigers, 19-20, 3 games behind Cleveland. Last season on May 7 the Tigers were 16-18, and a whole 7 games behind Cleveland in the Central.  Then Justin Verlander sparked the team with a no-hitter against the Blue Jays, they won their next 6, and improved their way to a Central Division title. Could Verlander’s dominating one-hitter last night be the spark that turns the...

Up-and-down season continues for Tigers

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander can't pitch every game, so the Tigers are going to have to find a way to win on those other four days. Manager Jim Leyland cautioned after Friday night's 6-0, one-hit shutout by Verlander that they would need rookie Drew Smyly to pitch well for the Tigers to create some momentum. Kind of how most of the season has gone thus far for the Tigers...

Little-known Harrison stays hot while breaking up Verlander's no-hit bid

No member of the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to be involved with a Justin Verlander no-hitter. But the Detroit Tigers ace had one going heading into the ninth inning against the visiting Pirates on Friday night. With one out in the ninth, unheralded Josh Harrison singled off Verlander to avoid being no-hit. "No one wants to be part of a no-hitter, so it was nice to look...

MLB Insiders: Detroit Tigers

The Pirates open a three-game interleague series in Detroit on Friday night. Right-hander Charlie Morton will be on the hill for the Bucs. The Tigers will counter with ace right-hander Justin Verlander.

Factor12 Rating Leaders: Week 6

The Factor12 Rating (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers. Brandon Beachy (1) Justin Verlander regains the number one F12 Rating after pitching his latest masterpiece (7IP / 2H / 1ER / 1BB / 8K) against the Oakland Athletics.  The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner holds a 31.009 Factor12 Rating. (2...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.