Detroit, MI – Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning on Friday and the Tigers opened interleague play with a 6-0 win over the Pirates.
Verlander (5-1) was just two outs away from his third career no-hitter when Josh Harrison lined a single to center. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner walked two and struck out 12 en route to his sixth career shutout. He has won his last five decisions overall.
Delmon Young supported the effort with a solo homer and a two-run double in the seventh for the Tigers, who lost two straight games to the Twins prior to this series.
"There's a lot of guys that came close...but I did what I needed to do tonight," said Verlander. "We lost a couple. We needed to win this one get off on the right foot."
Charlie Morton (2-4) allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings for the Pirates, losers of three of their last four games.
Verlander issued a free pass to Neil Walker with one down in the first inning, then retired Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez to end the frame. In the bottom half, consecutive RBI doubles by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had Detroit up 2-0.
Young hit a leadoff blast in the fourth inning and Don Kelly, who ended the Pirates' sixth with a running over-the-shoulder catch in center, added a two- out RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
Verlander's second walk went to McCutchen, with one out in the seventh. A groundout moved the Pirates center fielder to second but Verlander struck out the next four batters he faced.
After Harrison's single, Verlander grounded out Walker and McCutchen to secure the win and his 16th career complete game.
"It was a good feeling," Harrison said of his hit. "Nobody wants to be part of a no-hitter. We were scratching and clawing all night. It was just one of those nights."
Verlander threw 109 pitches -- 76 strikes. He improved to 16-2 in 21 interleague starts...Earlier Friday, the Pirates recalled outfielder Gorkys Hernandez from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned pitcher Evan Meek to Indianapolis.