Astros ace Justin Verlander recorded his 3,000th career strikeout on Saturday against the Angels, becoming the 18th pitcher in MLB history to reach the milestone.
Entering Saturday's game with 2,994 strikeouts, Verlander hit the mark by striking out Kole Calhoun in the fourth inning, although Calhoun reached first base because the nasty slider got past catcher Martin Maldonado. The crowd at Angels Stadium cheered for Verlander after he reached the feat, and he stepped off the mound to tip his hat to the fans.
However, the celebration didn't last long. Verlander returned to the mound only to give up a two-run homer to Andrelton Simmons on the first pitch.
In the second inning, Verlander also recorded his 291st strikeout of the year, setting a new personal single-season record. Nolan Ryan holds the record for most career strikeouts with 5,714, and Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia leads all active MLB players in strikeouts with 3,093. Sabathia reached the milestone earlier this season. Verlander is second on the active players list behind the Bronx Bomber.
He is in his 15th season and his third with Houston. Verlander won the 2017 World Series with the Astros after being acquired from the Tigers at the end of August. The 36-year-old threw his third career no-hitter earlier this season, joining Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Cy Young on the short list of players to accomplish the feat.
Verlander entered Saturday with a career 3.33 ERA through 452 starts, posting a 224–129 record. He is an eight-time All-Star and won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2006, as well as the 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP awards.