Heat Verlander's key to success on July 4th

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Verlander threw threw 25 fastballs at at least 95 MPH, his second-most in a start this season.

Justin Verlander had gone four straight starts without a win, and if he didn't get one against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, it would have been his longest winless streak in five years.

Instead he posted a line that has been quite Verlander-ian over the years: at least seven innings without allowing a run.

And he did it by relying on his trusty fastball.

The start was the 29th of Verlander's career where he threw at least seven scoreless innings. Among all Tigers pitchers in the Live Ball era (since 1920), only three have amassed more in their career: Mickey Lolich, Hal Newhouser and Tommy Bridges.

Among his contemporaries Verlander is in rare company too. The other pitchers with as many scoreless starts of at least seven innings as Verlander has from 2009 until now: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Jered Weaver and Hiroki Kuroda.

Throwing heat on July 4th

* He threw 25 fastballs at 95+ MPH (his 2nd-most in a start this season)

* 75% of the fastballs he threw with 2 strikes (12 of 16) were 95+

* His fastball averaged 93.9 MPH, maxed out at 98.1, and 40% of them were 95+ (all his 4th-best this season)

* So he stuck with it: He threw 62% fastballs, his 2nd-most in a start this season (4th-highest in the past 2 seasons)

Tough in Toronto

Verlander has enjoyed his time in Toronto lately. In his last start prior to Thursday he tossed his 2nd career no-hitter. Then on Thursday he tied Earl Whitehill for ninth on the Tigers' all-time list with 133 wins.

In his last two starts at Rogers Centre, he's combined to go 16 IP, allowed 3 hits and hasn't surrendered a single run.