DETROIT — Over seven innings Friday night, Framper Valdez brought the baseball world to its feet. Anticipation grew as everyone left. The whispers of 23,832 fans at Comerica Park, hoping to see the Tigers win, knew they could witness history. A lot of people started searching for Johnny Vander Meer’s “double no-hitter” on Google.
But in the end it didn’t happen. The no-hitter effort ended with the Astros winning.
Valdez eventually pitched 7.0 scoreless innings The Astros lost 4-1 Against the Tigers, despite their lack of control at their best. The size of his pitches became his worst enemy. He issued five walks and hit one pitch, and after 114 pitches (64 strikes), manager Dusty Baker decided to remove him from the game.
Valdez, A threw A no-hitter on August 1st, failing to become the first pitcher since Vander Meer in 1938 to throw two no-hitters in the same calendar month. However, he had to settle for a better opening.
Throughout his seven innings, Valdez saw a trend that had picked up since mid-June; Leaning into his transition rather than his curve. He threw just 16 curveballs — a 14% rate, his lowest since April 9 — and held Tigers hitters to 38 changeups (33%), his most use of that pitch this season.
“That was part of my plan, to mix up a lot of my pitches,” the Quito native said. “Mix them up, mix them up, try to be unpredictable and sinker, sinker, sinker – try to combine it all.”
Valdez had what was easily his best outing since his no-hitter, ending a tricky stretch that caught him as Friday’s starter. In the three outings after that no-hitter, the lefty was punished for home runs, allowing five of them to post a 6.86 ERA over that span.
“We just couldn’t take it anymore,” Baker said. “He’s going to have to take 140 shots to finish it and we’re not going to stand a chance. Look, it was tough.”
Brian Abreu also came on in the eighth to allow Detroit’s first hit of the night.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Valdez became the fifth expansion-era pitcher (since 1961) to throw both a no-hitter and a no-hitter in at least seven innings in the same calendar month. He joins Steve Barber (1967), Vida Blue (1970), Nolan Ryan (1973) and Derek Lowe (2002).