The quest is finally over for Justin Verlander. After winning an MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year award. After being selected to six All-Star games and appearing in 268 games overall. After accomplishing pretty much everything there is to accomplish in baseball, the Detroit Tigers ace finally added his first big league hit to his résumé.
The big moment came in the third inning on Saturday night when he ripped a single up the middle off San Diego's Ian Kennedy. It was almost literally off Kennedy, too, as it shot between his legs and skipped cleanly into center field.
It was a proud moment for Verlander, who snapped an 0-for-26 streak.
Max Scherzer down there on the far right.
''It felt great. It's been a long time and I can finally get all these guys off my back ...,'' Verlander said.
''I think the Padres and probably Ian didn't know that I had never had a hit,'' Verlander said. ''It's been nine years in the big leagues now. They probably weren't thinking about that but I sure as heck was. I was watching that ball like a hawk.''
Verlander remained just as focused in his second at-bat, singling again to short right field, only this time he had to really earn it as right fielder Chris Denorfia came up firing to first. If you're a Tigers fan, it was a hold your breath moment as Verlander lunged to beat the throw, but he did it.
If you're scoring at home, Verlander went from zeros in every offensive category to 2-for-29 overall (.069) after grounding out in the sixth. He also came around to score on Torii Hunter's two-run single in the fourth for his first career run.
As for his pitching. That was pretty good, too. The 31-year-old right-hander held San Diego to two earned runs on eight hits over seven innings to pick up his first win of the season. He added eight strikeouts.
Have a day, Justin Verlander!
By the way, if you're wondering where Verlander's hitless streak to begin his career ranks all-time, he was still a safe distance away from Joey Hamilton's 57 hitless at-bats with Padres in 1994-95. That's the all-time mark for offensive futility for pitchers. For position players, it belongs to Vic Harris, who started 0-for-35 for the 1972 Texas Rangers.
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