DETROIT – Virginia native Justin Verlander pitched the first no-hitter in Comerica Park history, mixing 99 mph heat with crazy curveballs to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Verlander struck out a career-high 12, walked four and benefited from several stellar defensive plays in the Tigers' first no-hitter since Jack Morris' gem in 1984.
Verlander, a native of Goochland who played at Old Dominion, trotted to the mound for the ninth to a standing ovation. He struck out Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino before getting J.J. Hardy to fly out to the warning track in right field.
"I had way too much adrenaline, to be honest," Verlander said.
It was the second no-hitter of the season in the majors, with Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox doing it against the Texas Rangers on April 18. Boston's Curt Schilling came within one out of accomplishing it at Oakland last week.
As right fielder Magglio Ordonez caught Hardy's fly ball, Verlander threw his arms in the air. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez was already at the mound and hugged last year's AL Rookie of the Year as he wheeled around.
"That ninth inning was amazing," Verlander said. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."
This was the first no-hitter in Detroit since Nolan Ryan of the Angels did it at Tiger Stadium in 1973. Comerica opened in 2000.
Milwaukee was last no-hit on April 27, 1994, by Scott Erickson at Minnesota.
Verlander (7-2) had all of his pitches working, including a tantalizing changeup, in his second career complete game and first of the season. The 24-year-old righty finished with 112 pitches in the no-hitter.
"About the fifth or sixth you can't help but think about it a little, but you have to go out and pitch," he said.
"Everyone kept giving me high fives and nobody came and sat next to me."
Among those to congratulate Verlander after it was over was teammate Kenny Rogers, who once pitched a perfect game.
Plenty of other teammates had a much more active role than Rogers.
Verlander himself made a sharp grab, jumping to snare Prince Fielder's one-hopper for the first out in the seventh. Corey Hart then hit a liner and Ordonez made a sliding catch while running in.
The best play belonged to shortstop Neifi Perez in the eighth. After Bill Hall walked for the third time, Gabe Gross hit a hard grounder up the middle. Perez skidded to his left to glove it, but the force of the ball knocked him over.
Perez managed to flip the ball to second baseman Placido Polanco, who completed the inning-ending double play. Verlander pumped his fist near the mound and was one of the first to congratulate Perez in the dugout.
"Neifi was right there," he said.
Brandon Inge homered and drove in two runs. Jeff Suppan (7-7) took the loss.