Astros Pitcher Faces the Minimum in No-Hitter Against Cleveland

Framber Valdez of the Houston Astros threw the second solo no-hitter of the season on Tuesday, shutting down the Cleveland Guardians in a 2-0 win Tuesday night.

Valdez needed only 93 pitches to carve through the Cleveland lineup, striking out seven. He faced the minimum 27 batters because the Astros turned a double play after the lone baserunner he allowed, a walk to Oscar Gonzalez to lead off the top of the fifth inning. According to Baseball Reference, it was only the 34th time in Major League Baseball’s modern era in which a pitcher faced the minimum number of hitters in a nine-inning no-hitter.

Valdez’s outing follows the June perfect game by the Yankees’ Domingo Germán as the second no-hitter thrown by only one pitcher. There have been three no-hitters overall in 2023, including the Detroit Tigers’ combined effort against Toronto in July.

In a Houston franchise with a storied pitching history — Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, Gerrit Cole and the Cy Young Award winners Mike Scott, Roger Clemens and Justin Verlander — Valdez threw the 16th Astros no-hitter. He stands alone, however, as the only left-hander within that group. He completed the performance by inducing a soft lineout from Guardians catcher Cam Gallagher to shortstop Jeremy Peña.

Valdez’s no-hitter came just hours after the passage of M.L.B.’s trading deadline, with several teams, including his Astros, making moves to better position themselves for the stretch run. Houston on Tuesday reacquired Verlander, who had signed with the Mets in the off-season. Last week, Houston traded with the Chicago White Sox to land the right-handed reliever Kendall Graveman, who helped the team reach the 2021 World Series.

The Astros have become regulars in the American League Championship Series and are hoping to make a third consecutive World Series appearance, but first they have to chase down the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West. Houston trails by only a half game, but Texas bolstered its roster ahead of the deadline, too, making a deal with the Mets for the right-handed starter Max Scherzer and shoring up its catching depth by adding Austin Hedges.

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