Valdez throws 16th no-hitter in Astros history
Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023
HOUSTON (AP) — Framber Valdez threw the 16th no-hitter in Houston Astros history in a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.
Hours after the Astros reacquired ace Justin Verlander from the New York Mets, Valdez allowed just one baserunner on a walk in the fifth inning, but still faced the minimum thanks to a double play in that frame.
Gabriel Arias grounded out to start the ninth before Myles Straw lined out to center field. Cam Gallagher then lined out to Jeremy Pena to end it and set off the celebration.
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Valdez (9-7) raised his arms above his head and then clapped as a huge smile crossed his face. He’s the first left-hander to throw a no-hitter for Houston.
The 29-year-old from the Dominican Republic had pitched five complete games, including two complete game shutouts before Tuesday’s gem.
The no-hitter was the third in the majors this season. New York Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán pitched a perfect game at Oakland on June 28, and Matt Manning, Alex Lange and Jason Foley of the Detroit Tigers threw a combined no-no against Toronto on July 8.
It’s Houston’s first no-hitter in the regular season since Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly combined to no-hit the Yankees on June 25, 2022, and the first by a single pitcher since Verlander against Toronto on Sept. 1, 2019.
Javier also started a combined no-hitter in Game 4 of last year’s World Series against the Phillies on Nov. 2, 2022. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Pressly also pitched in that game.
Kyle Tucker provided the offense in this one with a two-run single in the third inning.
Valdez retired the first 12 batters, with six strikeouts, before Oscar Gonzalez walked to open the fifth. But Valdez still faced the minimum in that inning thanks to that double play.
Arias grounded out to start the sixth before a lineout by Straw. Gallagher then grounded out to end the sixth.
Valdez retired all threw batters in the seventh on groundouts. The first two were routine. But Valdez deflected a high chopper hit by José Ramírez and Pena’s throw to first barely beat Ramírez there for the third out.
Valdez struck out Gonzalez to start the eighth and retired David Fry and Will Brennan on groundouts to end the inning.
Valdez threw 93 pitches, with 65 strikes.
The strong start comes after he allowed eight hits and six runs — both season highs — in 3 2/3 innings of a 13-5 loss to Texas in his last outing.
Jake Meyers singled to start Houston’s third but was caught stealing after Martín Maldonado struck out.
Jose Altuve singled and Jeremy Peña walked before a wild pitch by Williams allowed both runners to advance a base.
Tucker then singled to center field to send both runners home and put the Astros up 2-0.
Cleveland’s rookie starter Gavin Williams (1-3) allowed four hits and two runs in five innings for the loss.
Josh Bell was originally in Cleveland’s lineup Tuesday but was scratched after the team made a late deal to send him to Miami for infielder Jean Segura and infield prospect Kahlil Watson.
RHP Tanner Bibee (7-2, 3.11 ERA) starts for Cleveland in the series finale Wednesday. Houston hasn’t announced a starter.