Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander comes 5 outs shy of fourth career no-hitter, stifles Minnesota Twins

Justin Verlander missed his fourth no-hitter by five outs but still faced the minimum through eight innings, and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins 5-0 Tuesday night for their eighth straight win.

Twins third baseman Gio Urshela singled to right field with one out in the eighth to end Verlander's bid. The 39-year-old right-hander, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, finished the eighth by getting Royce Lewis to ground into a double play.

Verlander was vying to tie Sandy Koufax for second on the career no-hitter list. Nolan Ryan holds the record with seven.

"Unfortunately, I've been here many times before and had it happen. I've had a few heartbreaking ones in the ninth inning," Verlander said. "This one I think it's just one of those you appreciate that it was a good outing and gave us a chance to win, and we did that.''

After pitching just once in 2020 and missing the entire 2021 season due to an elbow injury, Verlander has been stellar so far in 2022. Tuesday's start moved him to 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA through six starts.

"Having the game possibly yanked out from underneath you makes me appreciate being here, playing with my teammates, pitching well, all of that,'' Verlander said.

Tuesday night marked Verlander's eighth career no-hit bid of seven-plus innings, which ties him with Randy Johnson for the second most by any pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961), trailing only Nolan Ryan (23), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Verlander struck out five and walked two on 89 pitches. Blake Taylor pitched the ninth for Houston.

Astros manager Dusty Baker said Verlander was on a 90-pitch limit but added they might have extended that had Verlander got through eight no-hit innings.

"The guy's a horse,'' Baker said. "When he pitches, the guys stay alert. He gets the ball quickly. He doesn't mess around on the mound, so you keep the defense sharp when you do that.''

Verlander was perfect through four innings before allowing a leadoff walk to Jorge Polanco in the fifth. Verlander got Urshela to tap into a double play one pitch later to retire Polanco.

The right-hander walked Minnesota's No. 9 hitter, Gilberto Celestino, in the sixth, but Celestino was later thrown out at second base by catcher Martin Maldonado -- one of several solid defensive plays backing Verlander's performance.

"The no-hitter was getting kind of deep in the game and he was able to make a great play, spin and throw the guy out at second trying to advance,'' Verlander said of Maldonado. "Really, his job behind the plate was fantastic.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.