HOUSTON — Framber Valdez threw the 16th no-hitter in Houston Astros history in a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.
Hours after the Astros reacquired ace Justin Verlander from the New York Mets, Valdez allowed just one baserunner on a walk in the fifth inning, but still faced the minimum thanks to a double play in that frame.
Gabriel Arias grounded out to start the ninth before Myles Straw lined out to center field. Cam Gallagher then lined out to Jeremy Pena to end it and set off the celebration.
Valdez (9-7) raised his arms above his head and then clapped as a huge smile crossed his face.
Valdez finished with seven strikeouts and threw just 93 pitches, making it the third-fewest pitches in a no-hitter or perfect game since 1988, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Darryl Kile needed 83 pitches for his no-hitter in 1990 and David Cone threw 88 in his no-hitter in 1999.
The no-hitter was the third in the majors this season. New York Yankees right-hander Domingo German pitched a perfect game at Oakland on June 28, and Matt Manning, Alex Lange and Jason Foley of the Detroit Tigers threw a combined no-no against Toronto on July 8.
It’s Houston’s first no-hitter in the regular season since Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly combined to no-hit the Yankees on June 25, 2022, and the first by a single pitcher since Verlander against Toronto on Sept. 1, 2019.
Javier also started a combined no-hitter in Game 4 of last year’s World Series against the Phillies on Nov. 2, 2022. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Pressly also pitched in that game.
Kyle Tucker provided the offense in this one with a two-run single in the third inning.
Valdez retired the first 12 batters, with six strikeouts, before Oscar Gonzalez walked to open the fifth.
Arias grounded out to start the sixth before a lineout by Straw. Gallagher then grounded out to end the sixth.
Valdez retired all three batters in the seventh on groundouts. The first two were routine. But Valdez deflected a high chopper hit by Jose Ramirez and Pena’s throw to first barely beat Ramirez for the third out.
Valdez struck out Gonzalez to start the eighth and retired David Fry and Will Brennan on groundouts to end the inning.
The strong start comes after he allowed eight hits and six runs — both season highs — in 3 2/3 innings of a 13-5 loss to Texas in his last outing.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.