HOUSTON — After clinching his 12th MLB win on Saturday, Justin Verlander wasn’t ready to reflect on how far he’s come this season.
But the 39-year-old took a moment to note how his nearly two-year absence from the game following Tommy John’s surgery has made him appreciate his success a bit more.
“I’ve said the word perspective here a lot, and I don’t take it for granted,” he said. “I think in the past I took a lot of things for granted, my health and some success when I was young, certainly not since I’ve been an Astro. But I think aging and going through some things can help you grow up and realize some really positive things that maybe didn’t take you a moment to see before.”
Verlander hit 10 in six sharp innings and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 5-0.
Verlander, who leads all active players in strikeouts, now has 3,121 in his career, moving past Curt Schilling (3,116) and Bob Gibson (3,117) to 14th on the all-time list.
Verlander (12-3) allowed six hits without a walk and dropped his ERA to 1.89 for third place in the majors. Phil Maton, Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu each had a scoreless inning to complete the shutout against the team with the worst record in the AL.
Selected for his ninth All-Star Game, Verlander will attend the celebrations next week in Los Angeles but will not attend Tuesday after throwing 106 pitches on Saturday.
“He has this inner drive that you can’t really teach anyone, especially a guy who’s had the success he’s had,” said manager Dusty Baker. “A lot of people would have just called it, but this guy loves to pitch and he loves to compete. We’re glad he put the time and effort in and glad we got him back.”
Catcher Maldonado added, “This guy, I feel like he’s 25 years old.”
Verlander laughed when he heard Maldonado’s assessment of him.
“I appreciate it,” he said. “There is a lot of hard work involved in keeping the good fight and anger against the dying of the light as long as possible. And I’ll do that for as long as I can.”
Five of the six hits Verlander allowed were singles, and the only time the Athletics had more than one hit in an inning was when Dermis Garcia and Nick Allen hit back-to-back singles to start the fifth. But Vimael Machin started with a double play before Verlander pulled Ramon Laureano back to end the threat.
“This is classic Justin,” said Oakland manager Mark Kotsay. “Life on the fastball and he threw a lot of breaking balls today.”
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34255502/justin-verlander-gets-major-league-leading-12th-win-passes-curt-schilling-bob-gibson-all-strikeouts-list-houston-astros-win Justin Verlander gets league-leading 12th win, passes Curt Schilling, Bob Gibson on all-time strikeouts list