OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - Justin Verlander could hardly fathom his name being mentioned in the same breath as Cy Young.
“Pretty cool, man,” the Astros ace right-hander said.
Verlander struck out eight over eight innings and moved into a share of the major league lead with his ninth win and passed Young on baseball’s all-time strikeouts list, pitching the Houston Astros past the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Saturday night.
Verlander (9-2), who had a four-start winning streak snapped by Boston his last time out, moved into a first-place tie with the Yankees’ Domingo German.
Verlander allowed one run on four hits and walked two, allowing only Stephen Piscotty’s second-inning homer. He also passed Cy Young (2,806) for 22nd place in major league history for strikeouts and now has 2,809.
“It’s pretty humbling,” Verlander said. “Sometimes when you’re playing this game, it’s got the unique ability to really kind of put things in perspective for you and as much as you try to just keep your head down and just keep pitching and not pay attention to whatever’s going on, any time Cy Young pops up on your radar and you’re associated with him it’s pretty special.”
Verlander’s biggest strikeout of the night was of Matt Olson to end the eighth with runners on first and second — moments after manager AJ Hinch had come to the mound to make sure Verlander could finish it.
“I trust him specifically to let me know if he emptied his tank on the (Matt) Chapman at-bat, and I got the answer I kind of expected and I wanted, but saw the visual he was locked in ready for the next hitter,” Hinch said.
Verlander hasn’t lost to the A’s in eight starts since Aug. 27, 2013, winning his last six decisions dating to Game 5 of the 2013 AL Division Series with Detroit.
Oakland starter Brett Anderson (6-4) exited in the sixth after manager Bob Melvin and an athletic trainer visited the mound despite the pitcher’s attempt to wave them off. The lefty, who had won his previous two starts, allowed three runs on six hits in 5⅓ innings. He felt something in his right side and was removed as a precaution but expects to make his next start.
In Other Games
Twins 6, Rays 2
Indians 5, White Sox 2
Giants 8, Orioles 2
Brewers 12, Pirates 10 (13)
Rangers 6, Royals 2
Braves 10, Tigers 5
Nationals 5, Reds 2
Yankees 5, Red Sox 3
Cardinals 7, Cubs 4
Angels 6, Mariners 3
Rockies 4, Blue Jays 2
Marlins 9, Padres 3
Diamondbacks 6, Mets 5
Dodgers 4, Phillies 3