Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez made history on Tuesday night, throwing the 16th no-hitter in the team’s history. The Astros secured a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians. The outstanding performance came just hours after the Astros reacquired their ace pitcher Justin Verlander from the New York Mets. Valdez was in top form throughout the game, allowing only one baserunner on a walk in the fifth inning. Thanks to a double play in that frame, he faced the minimum number of batters.
Valdez showcased his exceptional skills and control on the mound, recording seven strikeouts over the course of the game. He threw just 93 pitches, which is the third-fewest number of pitches in a no-hitter or perfect game since 1988. This remarkable feat demonstrates Valdez’s command and efficiency on the field. For the Astros, it was a night to celebrate as Valdez became the first left-hander in the team’s history to throw a no-hitter.
Reflecting on his achievement, Valdez expressed his determination and positive mindset throughout the game. He shared how he approached each inning with confidence and saw himself finishing the game without allowing any hits. Despite some recent rough outings, Valdez remained focused and worked hard to regain his form. This resilience paid off as he delivered an extraordinary performance.
The no-hitter by Valdez marked the third one in the major leagues this season. The first was achieved by New York Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who pitched a perfect game against the Oakland Athletics on June 28. The second was a combined effort by Matt Manning, Alex Lange, and Jason Foley of the Detroit Tigers, who threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 8. Valdez’s exceptional outing adds to the excitement and rarity of no-hitters in baseball.
Valdez’s no-hitter was even more impressive considering his previous start, where he struggled and allowed eight hits and six runs against the Texas Rangers. However, he maintained his focus and continued to work hard, ensuring his return to top form. Valdez’s confidence in his pitches played a crucial role in his success on the mound, allowing him to throw strikes fearlessly.
A Memorable Moment for the Astros
Valdez’s no-hitter is the first one in the regular season for the Astros since Cristian Javier, Hector Neris, and Ryan Pressly combined to achieve the feat against the New York Yankees on June 25, 2022. It is also the first individual no-hitter by an Astros pitcher since Justin Verlander’s performance against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 1, 2019. The Astros have a history of remarkable pitching performances, with Javier being involved in a combined no-hitter during Game 4 of last year’s World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on November 2, 2022. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly also contributed to that impressive game.
While Valdez’s dominant pitching stole the show, Kyle Tucker provided the offense needed for the Astros’ victory. In the third inning, Tucker delivered a two-run single, accounting for the only runs of the game.
Valdez began the game on a high note, retiring the first 12 batters with six strikeouts. In the fifth inning, Oscar Gonzalez walked, becoming the only baserunner Valdez allowed. However, Valdez quickly recovered by inducing a groundout by Gabriel Arias to start the sixth inning, followed by a lineout by Myles Straw. Cam Gallagher then grounded out to end the sixth.
In the seventh inning, Valdez retired all three batters on groundouts, including a challenging high chopper hit by Jose Ramirez that Valdez deflected before making the out at first base. Valdez continued his dominance in the eighth inning, striking out Oscar Gonzalez and retiring David Fry and Will Brennan on groundouts.
Valdez’s exceptional performance will be remembered as a remarkable display of pitching prowess. The no-hitter provides a boost to the Astros’ morale and serves as a testament to Valdez’s talent and determination on the mound. As the Astros celebrate this historic achievement, Valdez will be forever remembered as the left-hander who etched his name in the team’s record books.