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Verlander Rocks Again in Detroit

Justin Verlander almost had more in common with Johnny Vander Meer than just initials.

Justin VerlanderVerlander

In his first start since throwing a no-hitter last Saturday, Verlander took another bid into the sixth inning Friday against the Kansas City Royals before allowing a triple to Melky Cabrera with two outs.

According to Elias, Verlander’s bid was the longest in the start immediately following a no-hitter since Mark Buehrle also went 5 ⅔ innings without giving up a hit in 2009. If Verlander had made it through the sixth, it would’ve been the longest since Mike Scott in 1986.

There have been 165 no-hitters thrown including playoffs since Vander Meer threw consecutive ones on June 11 and 15, 1938. In fact, the last pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters before another pitcher threw one was Nolan Ryan in September 1974 and June 1975.

Entering Friday, Verlander was definitely in position to make a run at Vander Meer’s historical accomplishment. Verlander is now 11-2 with a 2.47 ERA in his career against the Royals. The victory also gives him 20 career wins in May, the most he has in any month.

Verlander was not the only one to take a no-hit bid into the sixth on Friday. Ricky Romero of the Toronto Blue Jays also went 5 ⅔ innings before giving up a single to Denard Span of the Minnesota Twins.

It’s the third day in the last eight calendar days in which at least two pitchers had a no-hit bid of at least 5 ⅔ innings.

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Seattle Mariners closer Brandon League, who gave up a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to Travis Hafner of the Cleveland Indians.

It’s just the latest implosion in what has been a nightmare week for League.

Consider League’s last four outings:

• Allows three earned runs in 1 ⅓ innings in a loss Sunday to the Chicago White Sox.

• Blows his first save and takes another loss Tuesday, giving up two runs in the 13th inning at the Baltimore Orioles.

• Gives up a two-run single to J.J. Hardy in the bottom of the 12th to the Orioles on Thursday, his third straight loss.

• Surrenders three runs Friday for his third straight blown save and fourth straight losing decision.

League’s totals over this brutal four-game stretch: 0-4, 30.00 ERA and a .600 opponent’s batting average.