Brewers respect Verlander's huge feat
On wrong end of no-hitter, but club knows it was part of history
DETROIT -- While his Detroit Tigers teammates mobbed Justin Verlander on the mound, then near home plate, then again in front of the dugout, several Brewers stood across the field and soaked in the scene.
They wished they were the ones in the middle of the mob. But the Brewers had just been victims of a no-hitter for the third time in franchise history and the first time in 13 years. They were witnessing a bit of history, and a few of them wanted to soak it in.
"I'm a fan of the game," said Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart, who came closest to breaking up Verlander's no-hitter. "Obviously, it's not the ideal situation, to get no-hit. But you definitely can appreciate a guy throwing like that."
"Sometimes people do impressive things," said right-hander Dave Bush, who will not pitch in this series but lingered on the top step alongside Hart. "That's why you play this game, that's why you love it. You don't like to see it done against you, but sometimes you tip your cap. If a guy hits a 700-foot home run, you'd do the same thing.
"I don't know how else to describe it. A guy throwing 100 mph in the ninth inning with a no-hitter, I've never seen that before."
It does not happen very often. The Brewers had not been witness to a no-hitter since April 27, 1994, when they were on the wrong end against Minnesota's Scott Erickson at the Metrodome. They were also no-hit by Kansas City's Steve Busby on June 19, 1974 at County Stadium. Left-hander Juan Nieves threw the only Brewers no-hitter, blanking Baltimore, 7-0, on April 15, 1987.
With each out against Verlander on Tuesday, the pressure mounted in Milwaukee's dugout to stay off that list.
"I think the pressure started mounting in the first inning, when he was throwing 100 mph with that curveball and changeup, you know?" said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who flew out to right field to end the game. "When he can throw them all for strikes, he's tough to hit."
The conditions were right for Verlander, who hit triple digits with his fastball on a number of occasions and threw curveballs and changeups for strikes at will. Several Brewers mentioned the tough hitting conditions in the early innings, when Verlander and Jeff Suppan locked in a duel. There were also the scores of seagulls that circled the field throughout the game. Also contributing was the slumping Milwaukee offense, which was coming off a 22-hit effort at Texas but nonetheless has struggled, scoring three or fewer runs in 17 of its last 29 games.
But none of those excuses mattered on Tuesday night, according to veteran Brewers infielder Craig Counsell.
"When you're around the game long enough, you see things you never expect," Counsell said. "He did it. He certainly pitched well enough to do it, it wasn't a fluke."
Did Brewers manager Ned Yost see it as part of a larger Brewers slump?
"Nah, you look at it as a guy who's throwing a 96-101 mph fastball in a pretty good spot, a nice breaking ball and a nice changeup," Yost said. "He threw the ball very, very well."
The Brewers will try to move on Wednesday night, when they return to Comerica Park behind left-hander Chris Capuano. Lefty Mike Maroth is scheduled to start for Detroit.
"You don't face guys like that every day," Hart said, referring to Verlander. "He was throwing all three pitches for strikes, locating everything. You just tip your hat and move on, right?"
Right, but only after Hart got a good, long look at the joy that Verlander and the Tigers experienced.
Among the players not on that top dugout step, watching the Tigers celebrate? Counsell, who was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks team that was no-hit last season by Florida's Anibal Sanchez.
"I'll try to keep that streak going," Counsell joked.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.